LOOKING FOR LIFE BEYOND CABLE NEWS AND FINDING THAT RESISTANCE IS FUTILE
You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or democracy. But you cannot have both.
- Louis Brandeis
Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
- Chinese Proverb
Well, look who came to dinner!
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Tag Archives: MSNBC
Neither his website nor his Facebook page show any activity after June 2012. Many of us remember his infamous “rant heard round the world” on his MSNBC show in August of 2011, after which nervousness ensued in various quarters. It was full of ugly truths and made plutocracrats across the planet very very uncomfortable. And, I’m sure, angry. Shortly after, Ratigan abruptly announced he was ending the show and said he’d be launching some kind of collaborative activist entity. He put up a website, got on the Twitter and FB, sold his loft in NYC and went – where?
Here is a vid of the rant, and his own follow-up post about it. The transcript itself is below the fold if you would rather read, but the passion in the video is powerful and I think it’s well worth the three plus minutes of your time.
I picked up most of this at a blog called The Golden Age of Gaia which is, unsurprisingly given the name, a very metaphysical place. (The post is here.)
Dylan Explains his rant:
I’m Mad As Hell. How About You?
August 10, 2011
Yesterday, on TV, I exploded. I spent two minutes giving a primal yell at our political system, demanding the extraction of our money and dignity end. It was my most heartfelt and emotional moment on television, ever.
And the emails poured in. I hit a chord, because it’s something we all feel. Take a look.
With the markets in turmoil and the global financial architecture groaning under the weight of fraud and corruption, it’s a good time to think about what leadership would look like. Believe it or not, we have had good leadership, purpose, integrity, and aligned interests in this country.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy faced a dilemma — how could he direct our intense competitive passion with the Soviet Union in a direction other than war? The answer was his call for America to beat the Soviets to the moon. Kennedy understood power; if he did not lead us towards peaceful productive competition, that same animus would have turned violent (see this key memo on the real rationale for the space race). So he took the passion and focus of our society, the technology of war and missiles, and turned it into a great mission to explore space. He gave us a shared goal.
But that’s not the full story. Kennedy also demanded we use the finest scientists and engineers to design the rockets, and made sure that the path to the moon was based on the best possible solution to get there. For large rocket boosters, he was open to chemical, nuclear, liquid fuels, or any combination. He did not put a commission of astrologers in charge, and he did not put political cronies with no scientific background in charge of designing the rockets.
For a long time, old Uncle Pat Buchanan has been my favorite misogynistic anti-Semite. And credit where it’s due: he is definitely America’s most polite racist. Pat lives happily in Leave-It-To-Beaver-land, where the men are strong, the women know it and the children say thank you. They’re all nice and white, go to Church together on Sunday and then, for a treat, have breakfast at Howard Johnson’s.
For years, he’s been a regular panelist on MSNBC shows but now they want Pat to go away and stay in his own yard, because his new book has offensive chapter titles.
They can make a case for their actions. I know that. Even though there’s nothing new here. He’s been called ‘racist’ and ‘homophobic’ and ‘anti semitic’ on air many times – because he is. But he was not brought on air to speak for their brand or their network (were that the case, it would have been an entirely different thing); he was put on air to provide political commentary. And in that, he is one of the best.
So I’m pissed off this time: warts and all, Buchanan is one of the few in cable-TV land who isn’t entirely enthralled with himself and who is not vapid. He is also one of the sharpest political observers in cable land. He has keen insights and his institutional memory of American history – political and otherwise – is sharp and always at hand. He is classically educated, a rarity in teevee land, and that informs his commentary as well.
I don’t need MSNBC to insulate me from Buchanan. I can separate the baby from the bath water just fine. And I’ll wager so can other viewers.
UPDATE: Buchanan has an explanatory column up at The American Conservative. Quite a few commenters, many of htem liberals, agree with me. This one is pretty representative:
Paulo, on February 17th, 2012 at 10:28 am said:
As a good Progressive, gay man I happen to disagree with Mr. Buchanan almost constantly. I do however buy his books and on the rare occasions when I wander into the cesspit of cable news I listen to his opinions. He makes me think rather and in this soundbite driven would that is a true gift.
When I walk away from a Buchanan argument I feel called to do my homework, to iron out and resolve my moral and political stances in response to his critiques. I have seen enough value in this that I use his book on WWII as critical reading for a small history class I teach. As I tell my students “Disagree, I do! Now go out and tell me why.”
I am deeply saddened that he has fallen victim to a PC witch hunt on the left in the ongoing tit for tat. I expect another left wing thinker will soon fall in retaliation. Exceptionally sad and I plan on telling my local HRC coordinators exactly that.
POSTED BY ORHAN
By Jonathan Larsen and Ken Olshansky, MSNBC TV
A well-known Washington lobbying firm with links to the financial industry has proposed an $850,000 plan to take on Occupy Wall Street and politicians who might express sympathy for the protests, according to a memo obtained by the MSNBC program “Up w/ Chris Hayes.”
The proposal was written on the letterhead of the lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford and addressed to one of CLGC’s clients, the American Bankers Association.
CLGC’s memo proposes that the ABA pay CLGC $850,000 to conduct “opposition research” on Occupy Wall Street in order to construct “negative narratives” about the protests and allied politicians. The memo also asserts that Democratic victories in 2012 would be detrimental for Wall Street and targets specific races in which it says Wall Street would benefit by electing Republicans instead. Continue reading
I am (or rather, I was) listening to Ron Reagan and an ‘expert’ talk about the observed behavior of the animals at the Washington Zoo yesterday. They are talking about how the animals ‘react’ and are ‘reacting’ and about their ‘reactions’. (Poor cable nets – they’re reaching because they were disappointed the earthquake wasn’t severe enough to warrant a week’s coverage.)
The news is not that the animals reacted to the earthquake. The news they were trying so hard to cover (and failing) was that the animals ‘anticipated’, with ‘anticipation’. Animals, vertebrate and other, can sense impending events like earthquakes and tsunamis. Most of us already know that.
Teh stupid, it still hurts!! I guess the quiet place is still there if I need it.
There, in all their smugness, sat the usual collection of male middle aged political has-beens and below them the show’s new nickname, Mo’ Joe.
On MSNBC right now, a pretty white female anchor with really long wavy blond hair is talking to another pretty white lady with long straight blond hair about another white lady with regular blond hair who is missing.
A white blond girl is missing! She’s pretty so we must put it on the teevee.
In 1981, the recently-launched 24-hour CNN had the great good fortune to instantly become the ‘go-to’ source for events of January 20, when the release of the US hostages from Tehran occurred at the exact moment that Ronald Reagan was being sworn in as president. A huge drama watched by the whole world. And they watched it on CNN.
In 1991, MSNBC hit the air just in time for Operation Dessert Storm – CNN was on air too, but perhaps because of their new kid on the block fiestiness, the opening days of that war belonged to MSNBC.
Now, that moment has arrived for Al Jazeera. They have grown in influence over the last decade, becoming the primary news source in the Arab world. They lost reporters in Iraq. They were on the street in Iran a year ago. There is, however, nothing in that part of the world quite like Egypt. And the story of what’s happening there this week is the global break out story for Al Jazeera. They’re all over it
WASHINGTON — As street protests raged across Egypt on Friday, with the future of the Arab world seeming to hang in the balance, rapt viewers across the region — and the globe — watched it unfold on Al Jazeera, which kept up an almost continuous live feed despite the Egyptian government’s repeated efforts to block broadcasts.
Dylan Ratigan on MSNBC right now, where they’re discussing the Commission report.
He’s furious as usual about how we’re not doing anything, how in fact the banks are even bigger than they were! They’re asking where is the Teddy Roosevelt courage we need to break up these monsters?
Ratigan is pointing out that Administration official Jamie Dimond is in Davos right now defending the big US bankers. A reporter just asked someone “what are we talking about, a market economy or a madhouse?”
About 20 minutes after Comcast bought NBC or NBC bought Comcast or GE bought everything in the entire frackin’ world, Keith Olbermann stepped down from his rich throne at MSNBC. After he branded their network (giving liberals a place to go when Bush made their teeth hurt) they said ‘ahh, just get outta here.’
People who know him (and suddenly everyone in media knows Keith very very well) say it was probably him as much as the network – Olbermann does things his way and famously does not suffer fools. Which would make him a bad fit with corporate overlords.
A surprise for sure. Perhaps time. We’ll see. The guy was often over the top, but his voice resonated.
And so do her overlords at MSNBC.
For the first time in weeks – cautious since the last time she sent me screaming from the house – I tuned into Morning Joe on MSNBC. And hey, not bad! Joe Biden was on and was being allowed time to really talk – about Afghanistan and especially about the new START treaty with Russia which is in the Senate now. Important stuff. Interesting stuff. Stuff I care about. Joe and Joe were having a thoughtful discussion – or at least as much as is possible when both parties are also busy looking in the mirror.
And then Mica pops in and interrupts with something about Palin. “Here’s the video, have a look and I’d like to hear your reaction.”
I know you understand that I had to turn it off and flee back to CSpan.
Just saw one of those ads MSNBC has been running. By and large I’ve found them appealing – no idea if they help with building business; I guess they do help brand the network I guess.
But just now I saw one that is a shocking and blatant rip off of the AMC show Rubicon. I think any fan of that show will spot it right away. Naughty, naughty.
Another example (see below) of how badly our press behaves. How the memes spread and an inference by a partisan party quickly becomes a spreading news story. Case in point: 3:17pm, I am tired of the paperwork under which I’ve been buried today; I turn on tv for a distraction. Here’s what MSNBC is telling me:
The NY Post has said that ‘some tenants’ of the big bad Imam Rauf are calling him a slumlord because he hasn’t gotten rid of the bed bugs in their building. (For those of you who don’t follow such trivia, the City of New York is fighting a city-wide infestation of bed bugs.) So Rupert Murdoch’s NY Post (also the originator of the terrorist mosque story) prints a non-story and MSNBC dutifully reports it as “The NY Post is saying that someone (unnamed) is saying . . . ” Take it from there. It’ll be all over the media tonight.
This is how the Fourth Estate drives the nation into a gutter of irrelevance while seeking to entertain itself and titillate its audience. They are teh suck.
Although, I kind of understand – after all, it’s really hard work to report that today is the 326th day of the ninth year of the war in Afghanistan.
His late Dad was a teevee pundit guy. And now he practically has a show on MSNBC. Isn’t he supposed to still be in school? They treat him like a pet, or a mascot. Not really expecting serious reporting from him, just thinking it’s simply adorable that he’s there wearing long pants.
We are truly doomed.
‘Cable news is not literally a broadcast business, but a narrowcast. At any given moment, there are a relative handful of people (in peak hours less than five million and in non-prime hours half that, out of the U.S. population of 320 million) watching all of these networks combined. American Idol, in contrast, routinely draws 30 million. Although cable news is a comparatively small market, it is a small market with a much larger mindshare, mainly because the media are self-reflective, creating a kind of virtual echo chamber. It is also lucrative.’
That’s from the Columbia Journalism Review in a story by Terry McDermott, “Dumb like a Fox“. His story begins as an examination of Fox News. In the process, he examines the universe of cable news network. A brief and interesting read.
He also says this: ” it is a small market with a much larger mindshare, mainly because the media are self-reflective, creating a kind of virtual echo chamber. “
In case you missed it (and I dearly hope you did), last night Glenn Beck devoted his full hour to an interview with recently-resigned Representative Eric Massa (D-NY). Because Beck is exactly the kind of TV cable news ‘personality’ who is so very impressed with himself that he doesn’t see a need to do a little homework on his guests, the hour was a horror – for Beck anyway. Massa is very strange indeed, but he wasn’t the fire breathing ex-liberal Fox expected when they booked him. He is famously opposed to the Health Care bill that’s once again working its way through the hollow halls of Congress. This made him a desirable catch for a Fox show. But guess what . . . Massa opposes the current bill because he favors a single payer – he favors Medicare For All. S-u-r-p-r-i-s-e !
And if the Beck show weren’t sufficiently empty of content, Lawrence O’Donnell who’s been sitting in for Keith Olbermann (Before taking a hiatus to attend to his dying father, Olbermann did a 30 minute incomprehensible rant on health care.) spent most of the Countdown hour re-running the video of the odd encounter of Beck/Massa, which had taken place two hours earlier. Entirely circular. Cable news now examines only its own navel.
And while I’m busy watching – and reading about – cable news, it is the 152nd day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.
UPDATE: I surprise even myself – after pasting a quote – above – I then say “he also says” and paste a portion of the first quote. Perhaps I shouldn’t post till the afternoon.
For well over 20 years, conservative voices have dominated radio. Their message has not been “conservatism is good”. Their message has been “liberalism is bad“; it’s anti-American and will destroy the Republic. I finally lost a brother to this near-seditious drumbeat and that hurt a lot. It still does. Then, FOX News joined the noise machine in 1996, just in time to leap into the relentless drumbeat against Bill Clinton.
Now conservative media figures claim that the ‘mainstream media’ is liberally biased and that’s why they had to come into being. I guess they see themselves as out of the mainstream of American life, fighting the mainstream, since most Americans turn to newspapers, magazines, local TV, network news, public radio and TV for their information. In other words, mainstream Americans turn to the mainstream media. And since those media are not liberal bashers (except maybe the Wall St Journal editorial page!), conservatives say they therefore are liberal. This is nonsense of course.
Nevertheless, when Keith Olbermann showed up on MSNBC a few years back, it was pretty exciting for this liberal. I hadn’t heard that kind of talk anywhere outside the pages of liberal magazines (and maybe on Bill Moyers – who speaks, however, in soft and even tones). So it was a thrill.
And he brought many of the bright emerging stars from the blogesphere into the conversation. That made his show fresh and dynamic. Worst Person in the World was fun. The very earliest ‘special comments’ were water in the desert. They were ‘yeah, yeah’ moments, especially when he said the things about Bush we all wanted to hear said publicly. For a change. And he made Rachel Maddow a liberal star.
He mocked Fox News relentlessly, especially Bill O’Reilly. And then, he became Fox News. Now liberals like me aren’t listening anymore. Thehe Fox style is not our style. (I know he’s going after Dems too. It’s the consant outrage that’s wearisome.)
Today, the LA Times tells us (rather jubilantly) that Keith’s number are slipping. He’s losing his audience. I wonder if he knows why. I wonder if he’ll figure out that we is not them.