Archive for the 'MSM' Category

That was then, this is now

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Several years into the era of hostile corporate takeover attempts, we attended a board meeting of US Steel, to make a presentation on that subject. It was in the GM Building. As compensation for the directors’ attendance, there were small stacks of $100 bills at each chair (though that may be another company, we can’t really recall). The meeting was a staid affair, at least until the chairman of our employer fell asleep during the meeting, which our CEO host thought was pretty darn funny. That was excitement in those days.

Today, it’s all a little livelier. On CNBC there was a famous investor, or stock-shorter, or something, calling out a company he described as the motherfracker. We don’t know the company or the quality of its management and accounting practices, but something about the presentation seemed over the top, particularly in the context of engineering and operating advances lowering production costs dramatically and fast. And that wasn’t the only investotainment featured on the program. No, not by a long shot. It’s a different world.

The shocking power of the narrative

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

We confess to being blindsided by the raw power of MSM narratives, despite having observed them rather closely for years. We expected their power to diminish, and instead the opposite has happened. The young don’t know anything, and between the media and the academy, they believe everything from the silly (CAGW) to the deeply pernicious. This Iran farce is something else again: it is at least 3 standard deviations from reality and yet the true believers still believe. We’ve never seen anything like it in our lives. (Sometimes the deviations from reality are funny, but not with Iran.) Still, there are cracks in the façade — witness Chuck Schumer coming over to the Dark Side. Strange world indeed.

Woof!

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Apropos of what we discussed just yesterday, dog bites man. (Like chooses like to be with and emulate; it is the way of the world.) On the other hand, man bites dog over at CBS. Woof!

Compare and contrast

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

This and This. Ha.

It’s getting hard to overstate just how weird things have gotten. Weird. A parallel universe where 98% of bad things are either secular or the fault of some guy Kony. Of course the most interesting thing is that the crazy narrative of the administration carries no weight with most Americans, including for the first time the MSM, who now put serious people like Graeme Wood on the air.

Did we say weird? How about not backing Egypt’s play against ISIS? How about guys like Rudy Giuliani now saying openly and in public what a lot of people only thought or whispered a couple of years ago? (Final bonus fun from AT.) Weird.

More progress

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Graeme Wood, who teaches at Yale and speaks Arabic, in The Atlantic:

the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam. Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail…

ISIS follows a distinctive variety of Islam…The most-articulate spokesmen for that position are the Islamic State’s officials and supporters themselves. They refer derisively to “moderns.” In conversation, they insist that they will not — cannot — waver from governing precepts that were embedded in Islam by the Prophet Muhammad and his earliest followers. They often speak in codes and allusions that sound odd or old-fashioned to non-Muslims, but refer to specific traditions and texts of early Islam…

Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the Islamic State’s chief spokesman, called on Muslims in Western countries such as France and Canada to find an infidel and “smash his head with a rock,” poison him, run him over with a car, or “destroy his crops.” To Western ears, the biblical-sounding punishments — the stoning and crop destruction — juxtaposed strangely with his more modern-sounding call to vehicular homicide…But Adnani was not merely talking trash. His speech was laced with theological and legal discussion, and his exhortation to attack crops directly echoed orders from Muhammad to leave well water and crops alone — unless the armies of Islam were in a defensive position, in which case Muslims in the lands of kuffar, or infidels, should be unmerciful, and poison away.

Progress at the WaPo was a tentative thing, but this is really straight talk in an establishment publication.

Game changer?

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

In our view, Microsoft hasn’t had a good idea since Office 97. Now we hear from Leo Laporte that tech reviewers whom he trusts say that HoloLens is great. Here’s some more info from Vox and Forbes and HBR. We don’t get it quite yet, but give us time. More interesting to think about than the low lifes stinking up the country.

Chill out

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

The problem with consultants:

As he considers a third presidential campaign, Mitt Romney said Wednesday night that one of the country’s biggest challenges is climate change and that global solutions are needed to combat it. “I’m one of those Republicans who thinks we are getting warmer and that we contribute to that,” he said.

Argon, dammit! But it’s all too complicated, and the media, and the low infos, etc., so just go with the flow. Consultants, Grrr!

On the lighter side, an episode of Dick van Dyke had J. Pat O’Malley, and brother, did that guy work for a living. (Speaking of living, the ads on the program tell the viewer that he is seriously in the wrong demographic. Grrr again!)

Glittering Jewel

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Eugene Robinson in WaPo:

scientists have had their debate. It’s over. Among climate scientists, there is consensus approaching unanimity that climate change is being driven by the rapidly increasing concentration of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which, in turn, is being caused by the burning of fossil fuels. It is known through direct observation that carbon dioxide levels have risen an astounding 40 percent since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. The rise began after human society began burning coal and petroleum products on an unprecedented scale…”Hottest Year On Record” is a headline that encourages sanity on climate change.

Let’s regulate the methane of those parping cattle. And argon while we’re at it. Lord, what fools these mortals be!

Oddly enough

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Oddly enough we’ve been in Berlin and Dresden while these demonstrations have been going on during the last few days, and we saw one at the Brandenburg Gate. We’ve also seen CNN at least in Germany return to form, that is the form of two weeks ago. This segment is typical: guess what’s missing from this segment. Yup, you guessed it. More later.

Why?

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Fareed Zakaria: “Why no US leader at Paris rally? Isn’t this why God invented Vice Presidents?” This was a fairly big deal, with 1 million in Paris and almost 4 million overall in France. Zakaria’s comments and many others from the MSM seem on point. What explains the strange decision to skip the event? These guys are all about PR, so there was obviously discussion about departing from the normal default position in a situation like this. Why?

Clarity

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Choudary in USA Today of all places:

Contrary to popular misconception, Islam does not mean peace but rather means submission to the commands of Allah alone. Therefore, Muslims do not believe in the concept of freedom of expression, as their speech and actions are determined by divine revelation and not based on people’s desires.

Although Muslims may not agree about the idea of freedom of expression, even non-Muslims who espouse it say it comes with responsibilities. In an increasingly unstable and insecure world, the potential consequences of insulting the Messenger Muhammad are known to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Muslims consider the honor of the Prophet Muhammad to be dearer to them than that of their parents or even themselves. To defend it is considered to be an obligation upon them. The strict punishment if found guilty of this crime under sharia (Islamic law) is capital punishment implementable by an Islamic State. This is because the Messenger Muhammad said, “Whoever insults a Prophet kill him.”

However, because the honor of the Prophet is something which all Muslims want to defend, many will take the law into their own hands, as we often see. Within liberal democracies, freedom of expression has curtailments, such as laws against incitement and hatred.

The truth is that Western governments are content to sacrifice liberties and freedoms when being complicit to torture and rendition — or when restricting the freedom of movement of Muslims, under the guise of protecting national security.

So why in this case did the French government allow the magazine Charlie Hebdo to continue to provoke Muslims, thereby placing the sanctity of its citizens at risk? It is time that the sanctity of a Prophet revered by up to one-quarter of the world’s population was protected.

Gosh this has taken a long time, and still there are fools who refuse to take such simplicity and clarity seriously. We live in Dar Al-Harb. It’s a long war and sharia is on the other side, as we pointed out a decade ago. (We have another oldie but goodie on art, statuary, and guess-who at the Supreme Court.)

The usual suspects 2

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Departures from the pattern by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a brave guy it seems, and, surprisingly in The New Yorker. Enough of this: here’s a piece on a fun kind of criminal.

The usual suspects

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

CNN: the motive behind Wednesday’s massacre is not yet clear. We won’t even quote Howard Dean. On the other hand, Mr. Choudary is clear as a bell. So are these old-timers. And a helpful hint from Inspire Magazine: “It’s not necessary to do what Muhammad Atta did, it’s enough to do what Nidal Hassan did.” Hassan? Wait a sec, wasn’t that just workplace violence and not something else? Finally, Andy McCarthy provides an update from al Azhar University.

Though many of the usual suspects are still saying the usual things, the toleration for BS seems to have gone way down. It does seem different this time.

31 years ago — wow

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

We can’t stand the insipid controversies that highlight the ineptitude, the projection, and the ignorance of the young people in media (and their elders too). Here’s Scott Johnson; here’s Clarice of course — it’s Sunday!!! So here’s something from decades ago this month, when we attended the gala at the Paris Opera honoring Martha Graham; our old pal and roommate EJ Dionne recorded the festivities for the NYT. For some reason we’ve thought both Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov performed at the event, but apparently we’ve been wrong about that all these years. (We just watched Charade again on TCM so that probably sparked this.) Have a good night!

Irritants, Part One

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

Seth Mandel has a fun piece at Commentary about Rudy Giuliani annoying the heck out of the media. They really are annoyed; we saw this CNN bit a while back and you can see how ticked off the interviwer was when the attempted “gotcha” didn’t stick. If we get a chance, Part Two will address Heather Mac Donald.

First the hissy fit, then some comments

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

NYT editors:

de Blasio isn’t going to say it, but somebody has to: With these acts of passive-aggressive contempt and self-pity, many New York police officers, led by their union, are squandering the department’s credibility, defacing its reputation, shredding its hard-earned respect. They have taken the most grave and solemn of civic moments — a funeral of a fallen colleague — and hijacked it for their own petty look-at-us gesture. In doing so, they also turned their backs on Mr. Ramos’s widow and her two young sons, and others in that grief-struck family. These are disgraceful acts, which will be compounded if anyone repeats the stunt at Officer Liu’s funeral on Sunday. The New York Police Department is going through a terrible time, and the assassinations of those officers only underscore the dreadful dangers that rank-and-file cops face every day. And, in truth, there is some thanklessness to being a cop. Officers often feel beleaguered, jerked around by supervisors and politicians, obligated to follow rules and policies that can be misguided, held responsible for their mistakes in ways that the public is not, exposed to frequent ridicule and hostility from the people they are sworn to serve. It has always been that way with cops. But none of those grievances can justify the snarling sense of victimhood

What a bunch of jerks at the NYT. BTW, arrests are down 66% in recent days. Small wonder. Also, how about Sheriff David Clarke for president? HT: PL

All this anti-police stuff boggles the mind. It could have made some sense if there were a pattern of individual policemen repeatedly involved in these incidents, but the total killings are only 200 a year by policemen of every stripe. So you have the bizarre spectacle of the media running from city to city and village to village to find an event to fit the narrative. Boy, these progressive narratives, one after the other and non-stop, are getting to be really annoying.

Promotion, flagellation — lather, rinse, repeat

Monday, December 15th, 2014

SMH:

How should we feel for the perpetrator so far witnessed and his family? While we do not know his story or his motivation, we know he was once someone just like those people whose lives he has now treated with such disdain. He must have loved ones, too. Forgiving him will be very difficult, and it will take time. Without forgiveness, though, we have to live with destructive hate. The next test is to ensure we see this sad event for what it is – and what it is not. While there were a number of instances on Monday when Sydneysiders and the media jumped to conclusions about the link between this event and other incidents around the city, in most cases people were rightfully reluctant to jump to conclusions about the motivations of the gunman or the extent of his plans. Nonetheless, a temptation lingers in the community to catastrophise about such criminal behaviour; to believe that because we have endured one siege from at least one deranged individual, we are at risk of many more. Rationally, that is highly unlikely. The Martin Place siege may well be an isolated criminal action in a city whose crime rate has fallen for the first time in decades. A very small minority of people feel compelled to commit acts of deplorable violence, whether they be linked to terrorist groups or drugs syndicates

We wondered what was up with the instantaneous worldwide promotion of a criminal event in far away Sydney. The answer of course is that the gaudy coverage is good for ratings, but in our unprecedented Age of Foolishness, you have to be seen as pretending that things are not as obvious as they really are.

Their trajectory and ours

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

On our flight to Hong Kong today, there was no internet, so what’s today’s American going to do? Read? Pshaw! We watched TV. One show was called Shades of Life, the Winter’s Fairy-tale episode. It’s a Horatio Alger story of a guy with a very tough childhood becoming a successful entrepreneur. He sure knows how to clean a toilet and polish an office; fortunately his wife (whose family seems to hate this guy at first) knows ppt and accounting and through pluck and luck and a number of bad rejections and false starts he creates a big building maintenance company. We also watched the film Two States. It’s about an MBA guy from Delhi and an MBA girl from Chennai who want to get married, but his Punjabi family can’t stand her Tamil Brahmin family and vice versa. They’re both intractable, and most of the film is about how to create enough peace so that there can be a wedding. At the end, enough problems are resolved so that an extraordinarily elaborate wedding takes place, and the flash forward at the end is about playing with the beautiful babies. (There were other entertainments that covered similar ground to these two productions.)

What struck us is that the TV show and the movie were, among other things, sermons; that’s a little strong but you catch the drift. The point of the Hong Kong story is that: life’s tough, and if you want to succeed, suck it up and keep trying. Indeed, at one point, the young wife, after yet another setback for hubby, actually says in English “Tomorrow is Another Day.” Hard to miss the point of that! The happy ending involves riches and a fabulous home and grounds. As for the Indian movie, well forget Murphy Brown — these guys refuse to even elope. The family issues absolutely have to be ironed out and there will be no wedding until that happens, and the notion that there might be kids on the side simply does not exist.

In contemporary America, would we be likely to often see a Horatio Alger story without a Hollywood sneer at an ending such as this one has? And as for the Indian movie, first click the Murphy Brown link above and let’s talk. 40-80% illegitimacy rates are insane because they lead to gangs, youth crime and violence for the boys and different but comparable disasters for the girls. But if you’ve watched CNN lately, it’s unlikely you’ve seen these important issues discussed. Much safer for one and all to wallow in the fetid swamps of victimhood than deal with the profound problem which is driving a stake into the heart of both personal and political self-governance.

It’s easy to imagine plentiful American versions of the Hong Kong and Indian shows in US theaters as well as prime time radio and TV 50-75 years ago. Are they still around much today? There’s more than one reason for that of course, and they doesn’t bode well for the future.

Perfection!

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

Just the other day we noted Wretchard’s comment that American politics has become radically divided in two, in part due to an almost psychotic media-reality split, and voilà, we’ve found a glittering gemstone. Consider this magnificent tune. We’d wager that most of its apparent target audience would find it either irrelevant or offensive, while we can easily imagine a conference room of media consultants recommending it with straight faces. Media-reality split. But wait, there’s more!

It’s hard to know whether this Rolling Stone piece on the song is meant as a positive description or subversion. Subversion would be our guess. It’s easy to imagine the high-paid media consultants chortling as they thought: wait til Elizabeth Warren’s people get a load of this. But then again, it’s just as easy to see the consultants thinking that the rubes will really go for this — or maybe both thoughts at the same time. Whatever. We just hope everyone got a good payday out of this masterwork, particularly the graphics guy who helpfully inserted the word ‘cuz at three minutes into the song.

For future reference

Friday, December 5th, 2014

The New New Republic announces a restructuring and, without apparent irony, calls the departing editor “the beating heart of this brand”:

we are re-imagining The New Republic as a vertically integrated digital media company. Gabriel is ideally suited to bridge traditional journalism and digital media. He is committed – as am I – to The New Republic’s mission of impact, influence and persuasion, but understands that fulfilling that mission in today’s media landscape requires new forms.

He truly reflects the “straddle generation” of journalists and editors who remain deeply rooted in the qualities of traditional journalism – having worked with brands such as the New York Observer and The Atlantic – but also understands what it takes to create content that will travel across all platforms. We believe he is the right person to help us to maintain the core DNA of The New Republic, while propelling us forward…

we will be making significant investments in creating a more effective and efficient newsroom as well as improved products across all platforms. This will require a recalibration of our resources in order to deliver the best product possible. In order to do so, we’ve made the decision to reduce the frequency of our print publication from 20 to 10 issues a year and will be making improvements to the magazine itself. Given the frequency reduction, we will also be making some changes to staff structure.

Maybe things will work out for the 30 year old who bought the magazine 2 years ago. Stranger things have happened we suppose. Certainly the writing style and word selection of the “straddle generation” make a strong impact.

All of this reminds us of the so-called Twitter Revolution, which worked out so well as you recall. We’ll watch and see what happens in this case. Tick. Tick. Tick.

UPDATE: Tock. Well, that didn’t take long!