Tag Archives: news media criticism

Disputing Gov’t Narratives Now Limited to YouTube Comments Section

#FakeNewsMedia’s Rearguard Sandy Hook Propaganda

YouTube content providers can no longer publish videos deemed controversial by owners of the Youtube platform without experiencing financial censorship or outright banning. This has been experienced most recently by the popular YouTube channel, Lift the Veil.

Thus user dissent has been relegated to the Comments sections of videos, where vibrant discussion of government-endorsed propaganda still thrives, at least for the moment.

As we’ve repeatedly demonstrated at MHB (i.e. here, here, and here) GoogleGestapo, Youtube, Facebook, PayPal and even WordPress.com are today’s thought police, actively suppressing many ideas or expressions disputing government-endorsed official narratives of complex events. Content that is trivial or reinforces such storylines, on the other hand, are placed on a pedestal and receive wide distribution.

Continue reading Disputing Gov’t Narratives Now Limited to YouTube Comments Section

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US News Media Targeted Professor for Questioning Sandy Hook While Failing To Do Theirs – Fake News Indeed

Via PhiBetaIota

James Tracy: In Solidarity with Alex Jones: US News Media Targeted Professor for Questioning Sandy Hook While Failing To Do Theirs – Fake News Indeed

 

Mr. President,

I am a former Associate Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). In early 2013, I became the target of a smear campaign led by prominent news media after I questioned coverage of the 14 December 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. The media called on FAU to fire me because of my concerns. I therefore appreciate your clear condemnation of the Mainstream Media (MSM) for “fake news” where those posing as journalists spread falsehoods and propaganda.

As a student of news narratives for nearly two decades, I observed several contradictions and anomalies in the media’s presentation of the Sandy Hook event. Following the shooting, for example, emergency response protocols were abandoned and first responders were refused entry to school grounds. Authorities apprehended an alleged gunman but placed him in the front seatof a police car.

Continue reading US News Media Targeted Professor for Questioning Sandy Hook While Failing To Do Theirs – Fake News Indeed

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Palm Beach Post Court Reporter Admits to Bias in TracyvFAU Coverage

“Nobody Likes Tracy”

What Might Have Coverage Looked Like?

A source close to MemoryHoleBlog has informed us they contacted Palm Beach Post courts reporter Jane Musgrave via telephone following the December 2017 trial of TracyvFAU wherein FAU Professor James Tracy sued his former employer for civil rights violations. This individual asked the reporter why the Post‘s coverage was so egregiously biased against Tracy and favorable toward FAU.

“Well, nobody likes [Tracy],” Musgrave replied. “He got what he deserved” because “kids died.”

When the party pressed Musgrave on why the newspaper’s coverage included so many glaring omissions of important evidence and testimony–content that would have put Tracy in a more positive light–the reporter responded, “We weren’t allowed to report that,” and that at the end of the day the Post would never publish anything supportive of the plaintiff.

This conversation confirms what the TracyvFAU plaintiff and his legal team observed as both the Post and South Florida Sun-Sentinel‘s sensational and flagrantly misleading coverage throughout the trial and even after the jury verdict was rendered.

The story titles alone suggest the Post‘s clear bias, with the Post referring to Tracy as the “Sandy Hook denier.” In one “opinion piece” the newspaper even solicits an embellished defamatory account of Tracy’s teaching style from one of its salaried employees.

-“FAU Professor James Tracy Claims School Fired Him for Sandy Hook Rants,” Palm Beach Post, November 30, 2017

-“Ex-FAU Prof on Trial Tries To Downplay Attack on Sandy Hook Parents,” Palm Beach Post, December 1, 2017

-“Christie: Tracy-vs-FAU More about Arrogance Than Free Speech, Insubordination,” PalmBeachPost.com, December 5, 2017

-“What It Was Like in the Class of FAU’s Conspiracy-Spinning Professor,” Palm Beach Post, December 8, 2017

-“Claims against FAU by Sandy Hook Denier Headed To Federal Jury Monday,” Palm Beach Post, December 8, 2017

After lengthy litigation and a trial where a federal judge repeatedly defended FAU and its administrators from the bench, the Post continued to ignore crucial testimony given by Tracy’s colleagues that demonstrated just how haphazardly the university’s provosts and deans applied the “Outside Employment/Activities Policy,” and how Tracy was virtually the only employee required to submit an “Outside Employment Form” for his protected speech on a personal blog.

One must keep in mind that FAU is among South Florida’s largest employers, with thousands of taxpayer dollars to spend on largely ineffective advertising  in both newspapers. As one Post staffer explained to journalist and private investigator Jose Lambiet in 2017,

“Business people in the community are no fools. They know advertising in the Post no longer gets results. The news content is so weak that nobody’s reading. It’s like to trying to sell shit.”

Both the Post and Sun-Sentinel are so desperate to please this large advertiser that they are willing to effectively skew their coverage of one of the most significant First Amendment trials in recent history to fit what they perceive to be their readers’ prejudices–in fact, misconceptions that these papers and national news media played a major role in creating via slipshod if not fraudulent coverage of the December 2012 Newtown shooting. In this vein Musgrave is forced to function as an anti-journalist–one who documents an event then proceeds to deliberately deceive her readership.

More recently, Musgrave reported on US District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg’s decision to revisit her misguided Halloween day summary judgement ruling and deny the plaintiff a new trial, pointing to the judge’s “stinging rebuke of Tracy’s claim that the jury got it wrong …

“The central premise in (Tracy’s) motion for new trial is that the jury’s verdict was against the great weight of the evidence,” Rosenberg wrote in a 31-page ruling. “This contention is without merit. Instead, the court concludes that the great weight of the evidence at trial was in favor of (FAU).”

Musgrave’s reportage, probably at her editor’s behest, repeatedly emphasizes Rosenberg’s  ruling to deny the plaintiff a new trial.

Further, it is obvious that Musgrave never read Tracy’s Motions (here and here) since her slapdash piece attributes their authorship to Louis Leo IV, when in fact they were primarily authored and signed by co-counsel.

 

The Sun-Sentinel‘s brief story of Rosenberg’s ruling is (unsurprisingly) more reckless, as education reporter Marc Freeman fails to even mention the fact that the case is on its way to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

At the end of the day the eight-hundred pound gorilla in TracyvFAU must necessarily be overlooked by the Palm Beach Post, who ultimately answer to its owners-in-abesntia, the politically liberal Cox family. James Tracy stands accused of calling out Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration of staging a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in order to institute more stringent gun control laws. In December 2015 Tracy was (falsely) accused of criminally harassing the ostensibly Jewish “Sandy Hook parents” while consorting with “holocaust deniers.” These inflammatory accusations ultimately led to his termination.

According to the Post itself, Judge Rosenberg’s ultra-wealthy “Palm Beach parents are both well-known Democratic donors.” Rosenberg was appointed to her federal judgeship by President Obama in 2014. Rosenberg’s spouse, former Palm Beach County state attorney Michael McAuliffe, is a career Democratic Party politician. It is no secret in South Florida that he has major congressional and quite possibly gubernatorial aspirations.

Such ambition requires maintaining the good graces of Democratic Party power brokers whose central political platform is celebrating Obama’s political “achievements” and stampeding the US public into enacting stricter gun control. If this isn’t enough McAuliffe’s law partner, Martin Reeder, is the Palm Beach Post‘s attorney. One can only ponder how thick the “firewall” is between the newspaper’s editorial room and the McAuliffe-Reeder firm.

Rosenberg is also a former board member of the radical Anti-Defamation League, the Zionist espionage and agit-prop organization that stands vehemently against extending free speech to all and believes that any Gentile who so much as sneezes the wrong way is “hateful” or “anti-semitic.” The ADL is typically so extreme that its mention often elicits embarrassed eye-rolls from many in the Jewish diaspora.

Despite these conflicts of interest Rosenberg apparently never considered recusing herself. She instead allowed the plaintiff to embark on a costly litigation process then slammed the door in his face with a comprehensive October 31, 2017 summary judgement order in favor of FAU. With the trial the court simply gave defendant FAU, with the assistance of its advertising clientele, full exoneration in the court of public opinion.

Imagine for a moment if Tracy was a progressive-left professor terminated from his tenured faculty position for blogging about “climate change,” the villainous President Trump, and the conspiracy theory that Trump allied with Russia to subvert the 2016 election process. One need only look at the many Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and blogs of American academics that fit this very mold–some of whom work at Florida Atlantic and the state’s other publicly-funded universities. Imagine that the judge comes from a “well-known” Republican Party donor family and was appointed to the bench by Donald Trump.  Imagine the judge is married to a prominent Republican Party politician. Imagine the judge was Episcopalian and an active member of the National Rifle Association.

Then imagine just how different the Post‘s coverage of TracyvFAU would be?

 

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Fixing the News: Blockchain-Powered Solutions for Media in Crisis

Editor’s Note: Does blockchain technology offer a potential solution to often misleading, censorial, and even fraudulent corporate news media that plagues the Western world? As the author notes in his conclusion, such projects may seem far-fetched at present, yet it was not that long ago that few believed Wikipedia would ever gain traction. Today’s real news and analyses are coming from citizen journalists who remain vulnerable to YouTube, Google, and social media gatekeepers. What if they were given the means to form their own “ecosystems” for news and commentary?

“Creating comprehensive community-powered marketplaces for production, distribution, and verification of news”

Kirill Bryanov
CoinTelegraph
(May 19, 2018)

In the US and around the world, quality journalism is going through difficult times. Against the backdrop of steadily declining trust in the mainstream press, systemic issues like the ever-intensifying political polarization of the media, proliferation of fake news, and asymmetric power relations between platforms and publishers, among others, stand in the way of the press striving to fulfill its crucial societal functions. The central role of the media in the society is, at least normatively, to provide the public with essential knowledge of the state of the world that would enable people to make informed choices. In a democracy, both institutional and social media are also supposed to facilitate an open arena for public discussion and deliberation where the wide array of voices and ideas are represented. However, the reality seems to be drifting away from this ideal in dramatic ways.

A longstanding critical tradition has an extensive list of claims to lay to the US media system’s structural deficiencies. Even in the pre-digital era, some scholars of communication were uneasy with the growing concentration of corporate ownership in media industries, seeing this trend as threatening the democratic process. Proponents of this intellectual current advocated for as wide a distribution of communication power as possible as a safeguard against power abuse at the hands of big corporate and state actors. The advent of digital news has seen yet another wave of similar criticisms, as it had soon become apparent that, contrary to early internet enthusiasts’ expectations, the new media ecosystem does not quite eliminate the disparities in communication power. Instead, it seemed to be reproducing the old patterns of power concentration, as well as giving rise to some new problematic trends.

Most of the contemporary media criticisms converge around one point: the digital news economy. The ad-based online business model often proves to be inadequate for sustaining certain forms of journalism that rely on specific and narrow audiences for financial backing. These forms happen to be the ones of social importance, like local news or investigative and issue reporting. Labelled the “attention economy,” the incentive system that social media news feeds have engendered rewards content that attracts eyeballs and generates clicks. Facebook and Google, which derive the bulk of their profits from selling targeted ads, have apparent reasons to stimulate as long user engagement with content as possible. Here’s where algorithmic newsfeeds come in handy, facilitating users’ selective exposure to content they will likely enjoy. Extrapolated to the political arena, this logic results in people getting locked up in ideological information bubbles, where partisan views become amplified and biases get confirmed. These bubbles also provide fertile soil for the spread of politically charged misinformation.

Aspiring media reformers have proposed multiple cures to these maladies. Among alternative models are philanthropic foundation-supported nonprofits, issue-specific donation-funded media outlets, and various forms of collaborative citizen journalism. Albeit sustainable in certain contexts, such solutions have so far failed to demonstrate flexibility and scalability needed to achieve any degree of mainstream adoption. Besides, these models mainly rely on goodwill of those people whose motivations are purely altruistic, which makes it difficult to ensure a steady flow of contributions.

A handful of blockchain-driven media startups that aspire to revolutionize the news economy are different in this important sense. They hope to not just draw in people longing for good journalism, but also provide them with economic incentives to contribute their efforts to sustaining the ecosystem for substantive news. Using the versatile incentive-building tools made available by crypto economy, combined with game-theoretic behavioral modelling and principles of decentralized governance, these projects aim at nothing less than creating comprehensive community-powered marketplaces for production, distribution, and verification of news.

A defining feature of each of these platforms is that they are all powered by the principles of the token economy. Unlike traditional fiat currencies or even a general-purpose cryptocurrency that could be used for any manner of transaction, crypto tokens are usually designed in a way that programmatically restricts the range of their uses to a certain set of roles and functions within a given system. Tokens therefore reflect the purposes and values of a certain platform, and can be used in order to align the economic interests of its individual users with the interests of the community at large. As a vehicle for transactions, such tokens are no longer a content-neutral instrument that simply enables transmission of information or value; rather, they entail the shared interests and values of those who subscribed to use them within a specific economic ecosystem.

Within the broader ecosystem of emerging blockchain-powered media startups, there is a wealth of platforms that use crypto-economic models to redefine the system of monetary exchanges between creators and consumers of information goods. The most common focus is on user-generated content and the ways in which regular folks in social media contexts are rewarded for their work: some examples include Steemit, Sapien, or Po.et, to name a few. The following review, however, focuses on a more specific set of projects, which explicitly address some problematic institutional aspects of the current news media system. As such, the projects in the list recognize the independent social value of news, and offer fixes that are designed to produce a better informed public.

More…

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Through Jaundiced Eyes: Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel’s Hardcore Bias in TracyvFAU Coverage

What Would Fair and Balanced Journalism Have Looked Like?

By James F. Tracy

The Palm Beach Post and South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s overall coverage of the December 2017 TracyvFAU trial looks as if it could have been written by the Defendant University’s “Department of Media Relations.” Post and Sun-Sentinel managements recognize how FAU’s multitude of advertising dollars is a key  support in their erroneous and uncritical reportage of complex public events and broader operations. With the trial each outlet skewed its reportage and editorial commentary to heavily favor the school, thereby securing for their client a positive verdict in South Florida’s court of public opinion.

One need look no further than the Post and Sun-Sentinel‘s article titles to gather an overview of the TracyvFAU’s editorial thrust:

-“Trial To Begin for Fired FAU Professor, Conspiracy Theorist James Tracy,” Sun Sentinel, November 27, 2017

-“Ex FAU Professor, Conspiracy Theorist James Tracy, Testifies about Firing in Free Speech Case,” Sun Sentinel, November 30, 2017

-“FAU Professor James Tracy Claims School Fired Him for Sandy Hook Rants,” Palm Beach Post, November 30, 2017

-“Ex-FAU Prof on Trial Tries To Downplay Attack on Sandy Hook Parents,” Palm Beach Post, December 1, 2017

-“FAU Prof Wasn’t Fired Because of Sandy Hook Blog, FAU Official Testifies,” Sun Sentinel,December 4, 2017

-“Christie: Tracy-vs-FAU More about Arrogance Than Free Speech, Insubordination,” PalmBeachPost.com, December 5, 2017

-“FAU Prof James Tracy’s Firing ‘Wasn’t a Surprise’ to Him, University Officials Say,” Sun Sentinel, December 5, 2017

-“What It Was Like in the Class of FAU’s Conspiracy-Spinning Professor,” Palm Beach Post, December 8, 2017

-“Claims against FAU by Sandy Hook Denier Headed To Federal Jury Monday,” Palm Beach Post, December 8, 2017

-“Jury Rules against Fired FAU Prof James Tracy in Free Speech Case,” Sun Sentinel, December 11, 2017

An editorial by Palm Beach Post opinions editor Rick Christie, arguing that the content of Tracy’s speech and disbelief in government-endorsed conspiracy theories make him “arrogant.”

In fact, the papers pulled their reporters from the courtroom entirely when crucial testimony was given by Professor Tracy’s colleagues and fellow union officers giving the lie to the central argument of FAU’s million-dollar defense—that Tracy consciously violated a school policy rigorously adhered to by all other faculty and employees.

Continue reading Through Jaundiced Eyes: Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel’s Hardcore Bias in TracyvFAU Coverage

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New Leak Reveals Extent of Clinton Ties with US Media

RT

Hillary Clinton has been revealed to have a very cozy relationship with the US media, which has been found to work closely with Clinton’s campaign to present her in a favorable, transparent light – even planting stories, new email leaks suggest.

These facts are laid bare in the latest cache of classified Clinton campaign emails seen by The Intercept, which in turn received them from Guccifer 2.0 – the hacker who’s reportedly behind several high-profile intrusions.

The cache of emails includes campaign strategies aimed at keeping the public perception of Clinton favorable, focusing particularly on her transparency, especially in light of the FBI investigation into her use of a private email server. The strategies sometimes reveal the campaign presiding over stylistic points and emphasizing what is to be described as “on the record.”

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George Carlin’s Foreknowledge of 9/11? “Lost” Comedy Special Aired for Anniversary of Attacks

by Vivian Lee

The US news media is gearing up for the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks with a diverse and perverse set of offerings to bolster the official story. None is stranger than the release of “I Kinda Like It When A Lotta People Die,” which George Carlin recorded on September 9-10, 2001, for an HBO special that would have been aired in November but was shelved after the attacks – since it “seemed in bad taste after nearly 3,000 people were killed a day later,” according to a story in the New York Times this week.[1]

Carlin, the brilliant comedian and brutally honest social critic, died at the age of 71 in 2008; he was posthumously awarded the Kennedy Center’s 2008 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.[2] Despite Carlin’s anti-establishment bent, you don’t get big awards without friends in high places.

George Carlin 2003 NYT
George Carlin, 2003. Image New York Times.

“I Kinda Like It” is set for release on September 16, 2016, and can be pre-ordered at amazon or GeorgeCarlin.com (download, CD, or vinyl). But for those who can’t wait, it has been available on SiriusXM, Channel 400 (Carlin’s Corner) since September 1.[3] Mocking the public’s fascination with disaster scenarios, Carlin says he enjoys mass destructions where lots of people die – such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, tidal waves, volcanoes, monsoons, forest fires, avalanches, heat waves, famines, and, his favorite disaster, “an asteroid.”

“I’m always rootin’ for a really high death toll,” he says. “That’s why I like the natural disasters … that no one can control.” According to Carlin, “the world is one big theatrical production.” In the face of mass tragedy, “folks, you gotta have fun.”[4]

Continue reading George Carlin’s Foreknowledge of 9/11? “Lost” Comedy Special Aired for Anniversary of Attacks

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