Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Paul Ryan and other political media fails

It's really sad when you live in a reality-based world, because you see politicians clearly lying and/or covering up their records, and our media chooses to be an accomplice in these deceptions. You can see no more obvious evidence of this than in Paul Ryan, who's been sheltered for 14 years by a Wisconsin media who seems more concerned about Paulie's pretty face and P90X abs instead of his grotesque and hypocritical stands over the years.

For example, the 2012 Ryan is all about denigrating Barack Obama's successful stimulus and stabilization policies, and disliking "borrowed and spend" as a method of getting the economy going. The 2002 Paul Ryan? All about stimulus to get the economy going, as MSNBC's Chris Hayes exposes.


   This proves yet again that Paul Ryan is no ideological true believer, but instead he's an opportunistic con man whose main talent seems to be saying his lines with a convincing face.

In fact, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel had to rely on an AP national media story to break the fact that Ryan asked for stimulus funds in 2009 to help Wisconsin organizations get green power grants. And where was the Journal-Sentinel to inform Paulie's constituents on Ryan's virulent anti-choice and anti-female views? This includes co-sponsoring bills on "personhood" with Tod Akin and agreeing to add the "forcible" modifier to rape (indicating that some other types of rape are OK'd by the victim). I bet this is the first time many people in Wisconsin knew about how the smiling boy is just as hateful and one-sided on these issues as say, Glenn Grothmann.

But there's a good reason the J-S has constantly covered for their boys Paul Ryan and Scott Walker - they make a lot of money off of them. And not just from the 9 Hours of Hate that they approve each day on WTMJ (with regular appearances from Ryan and Walker in the form of softball interviews). Last month Journal Communications announced a huge increase in 2nd Quarter profits, largely due to political ads resulting from the recall elections, and they stand to gain more later this year from more November election ads. Now did the J-S use those extra funds to beef up their reporting staff at 333 W. Wisconsin and improve their product? OF COURSE NOT. Instead, JournalComm spent nearly $32 million last week to buy back preferred stock in order to pump up their EPS for future quarters.  

With Wisconsin now closer to toss-up status for both president and Senate with Ryan on the ticket, JournalComm stands to make even more money. And even if Obama pulls away over the next 11 weeks, you can bet JournalComm will go out of their way to continue to portray things as close even if they're not, just so they can have more ads thrown on TV-4, TMJ 620 and online at jsonline.com. Once Romney made Ryan his pick for VP, you can bet there were some serious cigars being fired up at JournalComm's corporate headquarters as the culmination of a multi-year strategy of allowing Bradley/Koch front men in Wisconsin to rise without challenge from the 4th Estate.

But JournalComm is hardly the only corporate insider media failing the public with awful political coverage. Ryan admitted on Fox News last week that he didn't know when his budget balances because they "hadn't run the numbers" on his plan. Well how the hell do you know the budget balances if you have no numbers saying so? I mean, I could say with a confident face that I'd be out of student loan debt next year, but it'll take a whole lot more than me saying so to make that true. Amazingly, the media lets Ryan's admission go, and continues to portray him as some kind of smart guy who has big ideas. HE'S A CON MAN, GUYS, and anyone with an ounce of sense sees it.

There's a great scene in the HBO show "The Newsroom" that illustrates why our media refuses to press Paul Ryan on his empty rhetoric and tell people the truth. Jane Fonda plays the CEO of a media conglomerate that owns the station which produces "Newsnight," which has been exposing Tea Party hypocrisy in unflinching terms. In this great scene between Fonda and the station's boss (played by Sam Watterson), Watterson tells her that our media needs to start telling it like it is, including the great line "Evolution? I think the jury's back on that one." Fonda replies (with the really good stuff starting around 2:40) that "Newsnight" needs to back off the Kochs and the Baggers, because "I have business in front of this Congress," and that she got ahead for "knowing who to fear."


As Rolling Stone brings up,  broadcast media stands to make up to $3 billion in political ads for the 2012 elections, so do you think they're going to make that extra effort to expose who's fronting the bills for "dark money" SuperPACs and how paid-off their political front men and women are? Hell no, because "they have business in front of this Congress," and are getting a helluva return on it.
In essence, broadcasters are now profiteering from a vicious circle of corruption: Politicians are beholden to big donors because campaigns are so expensive, and campaigns are so expensive because they're fought through television ads. The more cash that chases limited airtime, the more the ads will cost, and the more politicians must lean on deep-pocketed patrons. In short, the dirtier the system, the better for the bottom line at TV stations and cable systems.  
According to an analysis by Moody's, political ads are expected to account for as much as seven cents of every dollar broadcasters earn over the full two-year election cycle for 2012. The influx of political cash also means that TV news divisions have what [the Sunlight Foundation's Bill] Allison calls a "huge conflict of interest" when it comes to reporting on campaign finance. The profit motive stifles critical coverage of top donors and meaningful reforms, such as public financing of elections. "Broadcasters have an incentive not to see the system changed," he says.
So that's why we see such false equivalency BS, lies passed off as opinon, and punditry spoiling our political coverage in 2012. Because it's a nice symbiotic relationship for corporations, politicians, and corporate media. The D.C. media/politician incest is so thick that Politico's David Catanese spent numerous tweets yesterday trying to pass off Tod Akin's obscene comments about 'legitimate rape' as worthy of "nuanced discussion", and got his ass suspended after readers reminded Catanese and his seamy publication that RAPE ISN'T A NUANCE, IT IS RAPE.

With "both sides to the story" stenographers like Catanese being the main sources of MSM coverage of politics, is it any wonder that our political media has a 10% favorable rating, which is worse than Congress? People can see they're not being given the real story, and rightfully have lost trust with a corrupt, paid-off media that cares more about gaining ad revenues over gaining readers and viewers through high-quality, honest reporting.

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