Token journalist employed by Fox

Fox reporter Sally Kohn outed some of the lies in Paul Ryan’s speech.

So Fox employs at least one actual journalist.  I learn something new every day. Maybe it’s some kind of affirmative action.

I hope that didn’t violate the terms of her contract.

Thinking about Fox News, there’s something about that name that bugs me.  It’s not an oxymoron but something in the same family.  There’s got to be a name for that.

I’m not sure what would be more suitable.  “Disingenuous Propaganda” is cumbersome and a little obvious.

Better yet, they should just run Red Eye 24/7.


Problems in handling Wikileaks and the freedom of speech

The biggest challenge that Wikileaks poses is how to handle the issue without impeding important freedoms and especially, without getting in the way of legitimate whistleblowers.
The concept of a whistleblower is inherently tied to misfeasance.   If there is no wrongdoing you aren’t a whistleblower, just a spy or a gossip.
There also needs to be a distinction made between Wikileaks and journalism.   A journalist will take a Watergate story and run whereever it leads, and should be able to, but a journalist that solicits any and all information without regard to the public interest (once famously noted by a judge to be distinct from an interested public), is just a criminal, a spy.
Wikileaks actively solicits treason.  It is a criminal organization.   It has published some things in the past that ought to have been published by somebody but that does not change the fact that the core mission of the organization is to solicit treason.    It is not a journalistic organization.
There need to be protections in the event of disclosure being in the public interest and that should be a relatively low threshold.   For that public interest to hold there should be an element of misconduct, which again should be broad to include for instance negligence,
I note that whistleblower protections in the United States are not nearly as strong as they should be, for legitimate whistleblowers.
We do not want to give governments too much control over the flow of information.  One of the deficiencies of the present Canadian government is that government funded scientists are not allowed to give interviews or otherwise disclose information to the public without first getting the approval of politicians.   The ruling party has used this occasionally to suppress research that shows their policies are misconceived.
A balance needs to be struck so that our society does not become more Orwellian than it already is, but others don’t for instance know our bargaining positions in important negotiations or our assessments of important organizations and people.   That needs to be a low test, but an objective test.   Just because somebody disagrees with a policy doesn’t make it misconduct.
I think that the first mistake that the US government made in response to the recent Wikileaks was not telling the press organizations involved that if they published anything from the leaks without prior approval that those involved would be prosecuted for espionage or other appropriate offence.  If they had transfered the same information to a foreign power they would be charged with treason, so why should they be exempt for providing the information to everybody, which is even worse?
For the foreign press that would not cooperate, they should have been told in advance that if they published without permission they would be banned from the United States, any assets in the States seized, and they would be pursued and prosecuted if possible as any other criminal or terrorist organization.
The government has put itself in a dilemma by allowing media organizations to do what Wikileaks has done without any threat of repercussions.   They should have been threatening to prosecute everybody publishing the information at the outset.
The ideal resolution would probably be to have a court structure for the press [including foreign press] analogous in some ways to the courts that consider police wiretaps.  Real journalists with stories from sources that might receive state disapproval could apply to a court for directions and approval for running certain types of stories, and if they have made the appropriate amount of disclosure to the court of what they propose to publish and argue an objective public interest in the information being released, and the court agrees [perhaps on terms or in part], then the journalist in question would be exempt from prosecution or sanctions for publication to the extent that they have been faithful in their presentation and in following any court directions, and their source protected.
Little if anything recently published by Wikileaks would pass the above test.  The public interest [as opposed to an interested public] is not concerned with curiousity or philosophical disapproval.   The public interest is in things like mis-spent or misappropriated public money, cover-ups such as the massacre of civilians or of the FDA overruling its’ own scientists when they say a drug doesn’t work, that kind of thing.  Objective misconduct.

Media, not Tea Party, sends the loudest message about who is in charge

So the turnout of voters under 30, disproportionately Democrats, was something around 13% in this election.  Having been convinced by the media that the Republicans were unstoppable, why would they show up?
So the right wing media have again shown an ability to generate a self-fulfilling prophecy through misleading journalism.  That at all times the population eligible to vote had a much lower view of the Republicans was consistently suppressed, and instead soft numbers about probable voters instead of eligible voters was used to generate the self-fulfilling prophecy.
If the media had done the same thing to affect the price of a stock there would probably be arrests, but deliberately misleading the public with false news to generate an election outcome for some reason is tolerated.   That kind of behaviour by the media belongs in Stalinist Russia.
The election is portrayed by the media as being about the economy, but it couldn’t be about that. The results were a large swing in favor of the party that destroyed the economy, and other polls that were published stated that the voters were aware that Bush and Wall Street are mostly to blame for the economy.   Electing people that want to repeal the new constraints on Wall Street is an unintelligible response.
The media did it’s best to generate a climate of alleged “voter anger” directed at the Democrats, and pimping the Tea Party, while making no effort to educate voters that the Tea Party and Republicans generally want to go against the voters’ stated objectives.
The 2008 collapse, which had been building since 2004, was a direct result of corporate lawlessness and a failure of the government to adequately regulate.  Only a complete idiot could honestly believe that an excess of regulation and too much government interference were what led to the economic collapse.
Again, I don’t see the people in charge of the Tea Party as people that believe in freedom from government.  Quite the opposite, they are about oppression by fraudulent government, seeing government as little more than a propaganda organ of big business.   Much like Stalinists, but  in favor of big business rather than big labor.   Given the facts, the position that the economic problems are a result of too much regulation is Orwellian.  It is what Goebbels would say.  The Tea Party does not represent a return to honest government and honest government is the worst fear of their leadership.
Polls suggest that the electorate want jobs, and again the right wing have successfully confused them.  The right wing is about closing jobs here and sending them to East Asia.   The right wing is famous for “jobless recoveries”.   If you want jobs, don’t vote for a Republican.  Ever.
The Tea Party people now want to cut government spending.  If there is a way to do that to a meaningful degree without cutting lots of jobs, I’ll be duly impressed.  The only way that the Tea Party and Republicans can do what they’ve said they are going to do is if they do the opposite of what the country wants- cut even more jobs, which will take more money out of the economy, lead to more foreclosures, and speed up the economic death-spiral.   Selective cuts, especially to things like military junk, may be manageable.
For the most part stimulus spending is a waste of time- a trillion dollars now so that we delay the collapse for a year or two and make every subsequent year worse, is just a bad idea.  Better to take the medicine now althought it is never politically popular to tell the public that doing nothing is the best option.  There may of course be some specific cases where the cost-benefit is there and in particular we can’t lose track of spending on preventative maintenance on infrastructure now will probably save greater expenses in the future.
The central problem of the few Tea Party and Republicans who want the country to improve is that it is not possible to turn the country around with their model.  Central to any recovery has to be that anti-dumping and anti-subsidy laws apply in the same manner to low minimum wages as they do to government subsidies.   The Fordism model for building America cannot work if every business can opt out of it without consequences and move production offshore.   Whether a company has an advantage through a subsidy by the people through the government or is subsidized by the people by low labor costs is only a difference in semantics.
The right wing is creating an environment in which it will only be possible for America to compete by reverting into the equivalent of a third world country.
This global “race for the bottom” doesn’t make a lot of sense.  Better to tell corporations  that if they break with the program, they break with it completely, and if they want to make shoes with laborers in Thailand making 10 cents per hour, then they can go see how much they sell to the Thais.   Otherwise they are freeloaders being carried by everyone else.
Another problem, the demographic bulge with the baby boomers, can only be resolved by going against the other right wing agenda and opening up immigration.  A good immigration policy can smooth out the demographics.   A number of billionaires have called for an improved immigration policy for presumably this reason. If you have too much of your population retired there is a huge burden on the remaining workforce.  The longer the wait to open the borders the worse the problem will be as people aren’t going to just walk into the country and immediately pick up all of the slack.
The “Tea Party” types have tied their hands by confusing empirical issues with philisophical issues and have said, essentially, that they will vote against anything that could possibly work.   Doing more of what got America into this hole in the first place is just going to dig that hole deeper.