Speaking of Fake News….

Well, I see where Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law is hosting a “news” show on Facebook, to give supporters the “real” scoop on the administration’s greatness….Since Trump’s vast accomplishments appear to have escaped the notice of credible journalism outlets, the family evidently felt the need to give the base a more flattering version of events in Washington. And also, according to yesterday’s Washington Post,

This week, meanwhile, saw the debut of Trump TV: a Web-based broadcast of “real news” by Kayleigh McEnany, a pro-Trump pundit formerly of CNN. In the first installment, she announces, in front of a Trump-Pence campaign backdrop in Trump Tower: “President Trump has created more than 1 million jobs. . . . President Trump has clearly steered the economy back in the right direction. . . . President Trump is finally putting the American worker first. . . . President Trump is dedicated to honoring these men and women who fought valiantly for our country.”

Former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul tweeted: “Wow. Feels eerily like so many state-owned channels I’ve watched in other countries.”

Shades of Mike Pence…

Much more concerning, Jared Kushner recently revealed that before the election, the Trump campaign had made a deal with Sinclair Broadcasting (Fox News’ less-recognized Evil Twin):

Kushner said the agreement with Sinclair, which owns television stations across the country in many swing states and often packages news for their affiliates to run, gave them more access to Trump and the campaign, according to six people who heard his remarks.

In exchange, Sinclair would broadcast their Trump interviews across the country without commentary, Kushner said. Kushner highlighted that Sinclair, in states like Ohio, reaches a much wider audience — around 250,000 listeners — than networks like CNN, which reach somewhere around 30,000.

“It’s math,” Kushner said according to multiple attendees.

Sinclair, a Maryland-based company, is a politically conservative network of local news outlets; it was the subject of a scathing take-down by John Oliver, on a recent episode of Last Week Tonight.

Local stations in the past have been directed to air “must run” stories produced by Sinclair’s Washington bureau that were generally critical of Obama administration and offered perspectives primarily from conservative think tanks, The Washington Post reported in 2014.

I’m sure it is merely coincidental (cough, cough), but following the election, Politico reported 

Sinclair Broadcast Group is expanding its conservative-leaning television empire into nearly three-quarters of American households — but its aggressive takeover of the airwaves wouldn’t have been possible without help from President Donald Trump’s chief at the Federal Communications Commission.

Sinclair, already the nation’s largest TV broadcaster, plans to buy 42 stations from Tribune Media in cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, on top of the more than 170 stations it already owns. It got a critical assist this spring from Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who revived a decades-old regulatory loophole that will keep Sinclair from vastly exceeding federal limits on media ownership.

The change will allow Sinclair — a company known for injecting “must run” conservative segments into its local programming — to reach 72 percent of U.S. households after buying Tribune’s stations. That’s nearly double the congressionally imposed nationwide audience cap of 39 percent.

That’s a nice quid pro quo: Sinclair delivers favorable publicity for the Trump campaign, and is rewarded by an FCC rule change benefitting its bottom line–a change that will allow the company to reach nearly three-quarters of American homes with “news” favorable to Trump.

When does actual news, which is protected by the First Amendment even when it is wrong or misleading, become propaganda or fraud? And what do we do about it?

When two deeply deranged heads of state are playing “mine’s bigger than yours” with nuclear weapons, there is some urgency in figuring this out.

42 thoughts on “Speaking of Fake News….

  1. …..there is some urgency in figuring the out.

    It’s not that hard to figure out. You just don’t want to face the truth. I don’t blame any of you.

  2. Just figuring it out is only part of it. What to do about it is the hardest part. I’m about in the mood to gather friends with torches and heading for major places.

  3. From my vantage point, it appears that an epidemic of non-curable cancer is America’s only chance. Try the truth. Without his cancer, I will assure you John McCain wouldn’t have voted the way he did.

    Now, he doesn’t have to worry about the crowd(voters) like he’s been doing for so many years.

  4. daleb; excellent question. I believe the obvious answer is as always…Follow The Money! Just as Gannett, Inc., is buying up our printed daily news across the country, Sinclair, et al, are buying up the airwaves. The 1% already owns Congress.

    We will never uproot the stanch Republican following of Fox News, Sinclair, Gannett, Inc., any more than we will get Rush Limbaugh off the air. Trump’s determination to have a war, to “nuke ’em”, has found a target in North Korea but the far right will never recognize or admit that Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un are (to borrow Sheila’s phrase) Evil Twins whose out of control word war may lead to the real thing but this country will be on the receiving end unless Trump’s instability uses the knowledge he has to make the preemptive strike. He is fully capable; his seeking a “privatized military” should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention (including the full Congress) now that Betsy DeVos’ brother, Eric Prince, has stepped before the cameras. He is one of two reasons DeVos was appointed Secretary of Education; his former Blackwater Troops and their combined BILLIONS take us back to following the money. George W. put them to use in Iraq but they, with his and Cheney’s help, maintained a low profile in the predominantly far-right media coverage.

    We should maybe ask Al Franken to regularly report between Trumps fake news/alternative facts broadcasts and actual news. As this country’s foremost political satirist; his success was due to his deep knowledge of both parties and their factual political foundations. We need protection from the Republican Congress’ support of Trump’s deliberate abuses of the 1st Amendment freedom of speech.

  5. growing up with the news by cronkite,brinkley,wallace,jennings,and other like minded journalist, maybe i was led to believe in honesty,and above all,context…, like cronkites op ed on the war in vietnam was unwinable. taking the face to set the facts and on public airwaves,and tell it like it is,priceless.. Ive followed with the inception of NPR and thenation,into what started online journalism. my obeservations really took hold with reagans so called reaganomics,deregulation and his bullshit fireside propaganda. Ive ignored the pro social sites, i dont exist, google has little about me, very little,and does any real search. being i read alot,and tend to discuss with like minded,or,my working class people i work with, im staying above the crap. ive been bombarded with trivial,to full out lies from so called media they view. but,the lingering problem is,now they dont trust any news media.hey, ive go 20 bucks to donate to a plane ticket for trump to go to guam for the missle show,any takers?

  6. In any coup or attempted coup, one of first things the usurpers do is capture the media. Its harder to do now than it was mid last century, but not impossible.

  7. There’s only one practical move left. It’s a Statement of the Evidence [much like the one provided in the late 30’s by the great French historian Marc Bloch] showing that following the likes of Trump, Bannon, and Pence can only accomplish one thing: CATASTROPHE.

  8. @Terry,

    You’re absolutely right. The New York Times was comprised almost 50 years ago. How else could a fascist fool like Donald Trump have been elected?

  9. Personally, it’s no surprise that I’ve never heard of the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, so I decided to learn a bit about the organization by going to its Internet website where I located a current representation of Sinclair’s television media outlets.

    If curious, follow this link. http://sbgi.net/tv-stations/

  10. After zooming in on the above map of Sinclair owned television stations, Hoosiers can breathe a sigh of relief that Sinclair currently owns only one TV station in Indiana — WSBT, the CBS affiliate broadcasting from South Bend – Elkhart, IN.

  11. The continual growth of corruption under this administration is mind boggling.

    It appears that the people who believe everything their far-right media choices have been telling them will soon have even more reasons to justify believing in the crazy propaganda they are used to.

    Those of us who prefer to check for factual evidence of what we are being told will have to expend even more effort in the future to try to uncover the truth. That is, if we will be able to find it at all.

  12. This sounds familiar. When I lived in Italy during the Berlusconi campaign, most of the population was dazzled by his ads and frequent presence in the media…which by the way, he owned.

  13. @Nancy

    “The continual growth of corruption under this administration…….”

    Partisan politics cannot deal effectively with this phenomenon. It’s gone far beyond that. As a former state and federal prosecutor, I can only add that the Trump Administration must be dealt with in much the same fashion as any other organized crime syndicate. We’ve always had organized crime in”deep” control of certain cities; Now we have it in control of our federal government.

    Who is going to investigate in the present situation? FBI or CIA. Forget about it.

  14. Show me a man who has no sense of wit and no sense of humor and I’ll show you Fake President Donald Trump.

    We’re talking about a man who seems to be on both sides of every argument. There was a time when the world of falsies was controlled by women. Now it’s manipulated by Trump. Voters who are looking for a well-known celebrity to support their outlandish ideas need look no farther than the man with orange hair.

    It would be nice if the media would spend a month away from this egomaniac, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

  15. As with most things that are happening today these media grabs go largely unnoticed thanks to the very limited attention span the average American citizen has today regarding anything. That the Sinclair media group could be so close to having a monopoly in regard to local television outlets is absolutely appalling and when matter what party line they were espousing. No one entity should ever be in the position where it dictates the content of news disseminated to the American people regardless of their current political or ideological persuasion.

    Again, I go back to the fact that people actually think that this is an appropriate course of action to take in a country that is supposed to have longstanding democratic traditions. The people that are orchestrating all of this are not undereducated teenagers in regard two American democratic values but rather people that should know better but apparently feel that they have the right to dictate how this country works and who rules it based on the money, massive amounts of it, that they have on hand.

    All this shows just how difficult is going to be to restore at least some semblance of a workable balance in our political dialogue in this country. It’s made even worse by these oligarchical monsters AKA people that think because they have tons of money to throw at whenever they want do they have the right to dictate to all of the rest of us how we’re supposed to live, how our society is supposed to function, and what our respective roles are within it. Democracy as we have known it may already be lost since we haven’t seen the full impact yet of what these fools are doing to destroy what took 240 years to build.

    The big question, one of many big questions, is do we have the gumption and the determination to take their country back and re-establish the balances that we have to have for this country to function correctly which is far from doing right now. The responsibility for all of this lies with us and it this point I’m not so sure, given how distracted and conflicted we are, if we’re really up to it. The idea that it as individual citizens we can sit back and let somebody else take care of it for us is not going to get us anywhere and as we sit, twiddle our thumbs and complain, time marches on and what we’re facing becomes that much more acute.

  16. Marv,

    re your comment: Who is going to investigate in the present situation?

    Good question! We have literally given the foxes control of the hen house. Short of the majority of our population some day recognizing that we have been duped, I am unable to imagine a solution. I still say that there will eventually be an ugly, and potentially violent, uprising that can only be described as a revolution.

  17. Trump’s gang of thieves don’t know governance, only power, and we’ve known for a long time that power corrupts. It’s Trump’s biography.

  18. Nancy,

    “…..there will eventually be an ugly, and potentially violent, uprising that can only be described as a revolution.

    My deceased partner, Professor Harvey Wheeler, was the author of “Democracy in a Revolutionary Era” published in 1968 by Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.

    That’s just about 50 years ago; However Professor Wheeler made the following statement which we must understand its implications for today:

    “The modern worlds first taste of plebiscitary democracy was bitter one. The Nazis and Fascists corrupted democratic institutions into instruments of terror and mass manipulation [Sinclair?]. Since their overthrow following World War II, revolutionary dictatorships and counterrevolutionary militarism have spread through the world. In Hait, the Duvalier regime and in the Republic of South Africa the administration of apartheid were political abominations [How should we label the Trump Aministration after only 6 months?] Nothing quite so evil and corrupt as Nazism has reappeared. However, in making what was once reprehensible appear acceptable by comparison, Nazism is victorious in defeat.” p. 67.

  19. If you want to be really scared, read Vanity Fair story on DOE……it is by Michael Lewis…….jobs not filled, run by an idiot who is having a wonderful time traveling here and yon on our dollar. I would assume that most other agencies are in the same situation……perfectly frightening……goal seems to be all decisions to be made by WH.

  20. I’ll stick to the statement I made months ago. I’d rather have someone like Adolph Hitler, than Donald Trump. Try to forget the Holocaust for a moment.

    Hitler was a decorated war veteran. No one questioned his courage. On the other hand, Trump has never led anything whether in sports or the military. I don’t believe he ever played any sports and I know he didn’t serve in the military. He even has a lousy golf swing.

    What’s going to happen if the worst scenario occurs? Is this fool going to be able to rally the country?

  21. It has been a few years since I watched CBS evening news, preferring instead to watch 24-hour “news” on so-called news networks like CNN and Fox.

    I tuned in to CBS evening news and tried it again a couple of days ago.

    Wow! It was refreshing. With only thirty minutes to fill with news, the program quickly laid it out there (actual news: ten news items somewhat in descending order of importance) …and dispensed with commentary ABOUT any of it.

    I realized then what was wrong with CNN, Fox, and all the rest of the “news networks”. They do not give us the news; they give us commentary ABOUT the news. They fill time (24 hours a day) with segments ABOUT THE NEWS, not the news itself.

    I wondered, What would I do if I were president of a news network facing the challenge of filling 24 hours with news content? I certainly would not spend the billions of dollars that it would cost to bring 240 six-minute segments to my listeners of brand spanking new news items from around the world. I know what I would do: I would pick four major news stories each day and stretch each of them into at least 240 minutes of fluff. But how? Well, I could bring before the cameras six or so spokespeople with opposing takes on the meaning of the news, and who could each fill some ten minutes or so of air time. I would not even care what they said about the news, so long as they filled time and sold commercials.

    And then I realized that my solution to the 24-hour dilemma is exactly the same solution the news networks have already chosen. The only cost-effective way to fill the airwaves all day and night long with news is to NOT fill any of it with news. Instead, fill it with chats and spats about the news.

    I see no other solution.

    Frankly, though, I favor regulations that would prohibit any network from offering more hours of news than it can afford to fill with fresh news. Breaking news would have to be breaking news. Commentary on the news would have to be shown on a separate program clearly labeled as commentary.

    Here’s another idea. After watching a half-hour of a news network, every viewer must pass an interactive quiz on the facts pertaining to the content just viewed. Failure on the test renders the television monitor useless for two hours. Failure on ten tests in a month, brings a summons to your mailbox. Fines, jail time, and capital punishment are all on the table.

    Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  22. Leslie Moonves, he became chairman of CBS in February 2016. > Of the tone of the 2016 Republican presidential campaign and the advertising dollars it delivers, Moonves said, “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” He added, “Donald’s place in this election is a good thing.

    Other quotes from Moonves: “Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now? … The money’s rolling in and this is fun,” he said.

    “I’ve never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going,” said Moonves.

    “Donald’s place in this election is a good thing,” he said Monday at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco.

    “There’s a lot of money in the marketplace,” the exec said of political advertising so far this presidential season. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/leslie-moonves-donald-trump-may-871464
    ========================================================================
    Trump was covered 24/7 during the campaign, by the networks including FOX, CNN and MSNBC.

    Trump was ratings and profits and still is. Trump is the gold mine of Corporate Media Profits.
    The Actors (I cannot call them reporters) on CNN, MSNBC and FOX are like cows in the field chewing their cud. Regurgitating the same story hour after hour, with guest pundits and their secret sources. I almost, given the theatrics masking itself as News, expect to see a guest pundit bring out the Magic Eight Ball and ask the Magic Eight Ball Questions.

  23. Hey Marv, good to see your comments again.

    BSH: so WSBT is owned by this group…hmmm, a classmate of mine quit working there and moved to the PBS local station recently and now I think I know why. thanks.

    We have to organize. Last night the Southern AZ Indivisible group were given a free showing of An Inconvenient Sequel and it was great. There were at least 200 people there to watch the show. I recommend everyone reading this blog to see the movie. The fact that our group had been recognized with a free showing makes me hopeful. Last week, I attended a free Civic 101 session at a local library put on by volunteers. We have to fight #45 and the first way to do it is to organize. Look at how far the tea party group got and we’re using their play book to take back our government. Look up your local Indivisible group and get involved. Don’t give up hope.

  24. @Fran, our copy of Vanity Fair arrived yesterday, not that we pay the annual subscription price but rather that after 12 years since my husband closed his private dental practice, he continues to receive countless ‘free’ magazines now delivered to our home, clogging our mailbox, and sending us to the recycler more than necessary.

    After thumbing through the first 82 pages of the September 2017 hard copy edition of Vanity Fair, I still had not located the Michael Lewis article re: “Trump’s Deady Decision”. Actually, the first 82 pages were devoted exclusively to slick upscale ads from the likes of Calvin Klein, Estee Lauder, Prada, Gucci, Dior, Saint Laurent, Rolex, Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Lancome, Bvlgari, Giorgio Armani, MaxMara, Valentino, Michael Kors, Fendi, Oscar de la Renta, Kate Spade, Guess, Nordstrom, Jimmy Choo, Ralph Lauren, Rag & Bone, Vera Wang, Tiffany & Co, AGJeans, and Cadillac.

    This outlandish number of uber expensive ads makes me wonder who among us more regular people will read Michael Lewis’s article, not that his article is without merit, but that his article is hidden within a forest of advertisements.

  25. Marv may be on to something, but I am sure he joins me in hoping he is wrong with his assessment of the situation with a wannabe dictator who doesn’t understand or even pretend to understand what atomic wars and human impoverishment are about. Probably rich and certainly aging, Trump has lived in a cocoon of profit making to the exclusion of any understanding of what the rest of us have had to endure years on end, and his narcissistic mindset doesn’t help but rather reinforces his profit prejudices. He is neither Democrat nor Republican; he is a Trumpist. This may bode well for Democrats in the upcoming elections but may in the long run be bad for a two-party system, one of the bulwarks of democratic institutionalism. I am not yet ready for a revolution. Perhaps Republican leadership will finally put their demented leader to rest via an impeachment process already overdue. The Sinclair-MSNBC dustup is a mere argument among propaganda sources intent on profit-making. I watch MSNBC and do not watch Fox, in keeping with my liberal biases which I would have if there were no television to watch. Right is right irrespective of the Neilsens.

  26. This is the Trump version of TASS, or like Mikey Pence’s attempt to have a state-run news bureau which was, as we know, short-lived. One of the “anchors” is Trump’s skanky daughter-in-law–Eric’s wife. I care so little about her that I didn’t bother to retain her name. Her face is so over-Botoxed that she can hardly move it, she has bleached hair and shows a lot of skin–a typical Trumpian female, just like most of the Fox News females, both of his daughters and daughters-in-law as well as Kellyanne. What kind of message does this send to young women, anyway? Men can be any weight or size, and they wear tailored business suits but women bleach their hair, show a lot of skin, wear high, high pumps, have fake tans and Botox their faces to the point of absurdity.

  27. Marv – You are right on. Those who are supporting dictators and wannabe dictators do not know history, a history where the dictators’ supporters were ruthlessly purged when convenient or necessary to one-man rule. Revolution is a possibility, of course, and it wouldn’t be our first one. We have had occasion to revolt against tyranny before. My view is to stop the growing tyranny before such extremes become necessary.

  28. Gerald-“My view is to stop the growing tyranny before such extremes become necessary.” I’m with you 100%. But I don’t believe it’s possible through partisan politics.

  29. Gerald-Don’t forget Richard Nixon was brought down by two investigative reporters + the media. Likewise, the Viet Nam War was highly affected by Daniel Ellsberg and The Pentagon Papers +the media.

    In our present situation because of its world wide effect, “a political meltdown” doesn’t have to involve our “timid” domestic media, always being led in the forefront by the likes ofThe New York Times and The Washington Post.

  30. And, Marv, don’t forget the uprising of the kids at Berkeley and other coastals, those revolutionaries and other liberals who shocked and awed some of us out of our complacency!

  31. OMG,

    “Don’t forget the uprising of the kids at Berkley”

    I haven’t. Didn’t the old saying go something to the effect: “DO NOT TRUST ANYONE OVER 30.”

    They were right. We’re too set in our own ways to lead. Our CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM won’t allow it. I can feel it.

    By the way, I’ll be 80 next Wednesday.

  32. OMG,

    The kids at Berkley were the second generation. I belong to the FIRST generation who caused trouble. I was arrested twice (a trolley was overturned, I didn’t do it) and also suspended for “telling off” one of my professsors in front of a packed lecture hall while I was a student at the University of Pennsylvania in the mid 50’s.

    Luckily, I was able to successfully escape serious retribution in all three. Though I have to admit, I might not have graduated nor would I have been able to attend law school, if one of the Penn Trustees sons had not been involved.

  33. Speaking of those who view themselves as revolutionaries, anarchists, etc. The Washington Post published a long article (8-10-2017 edition) about this self-identified group.

    Interviews with a dozen anarchists in the Washington area and beyond show a group that, while angry with President Trump, would be dissatisfied with any U.S. leader. Evidently, they protested President Barack Obama’s second inauguration, as per the article, albeit it was a smaller group.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/what-draws-americans-to-anarchy-its-more-than-just-smashing-windows/2017/08/10/030f92e0-2eae-11e7-9534-00e4656c22aa_story.html?utm_term=.f1aa285f4cb1

  34. BSH,

    I don’t support anarchy, but the anarchist represent an attempted countervailing force to the Trump “Blitzkrieg” which The Washington Post will never be. “Speaking truth to power”is not enough, in these political times nothing with be accomplished unless a movement can be formed to “Stand up to Power.”

    Neither revolution or anarchy is the answer. But neither is The Washington Post.

  35. Ms. Kennedy, I was chilled by the news of this move. That is quite literally straight out of the DICTATORS play book. Stalin, Hitler, Father Caughlin, Mao Tse Tung, Chang Ki Shek, Ho Chi Minh, Kim Il Sung , his grandson… and now donald j trump…? yep! FITS!

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