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JHB

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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 19,910

Journal Archives

You're joking, right? Vince Foster, "wag the dog", travelgate,...

...the "Clinton $400 haircut delays air travelers" "scandal", even Whitewater itself. And that's not getting into the fringier ones like the "Clinton body count", the allegations that he was in on drug smuggling through the Mena airfield, "The Clinton Chronicles", etc. etc. etc.

They counted as a "Clinton scandal" China's upgrades to its nuclear arsenal using secrets they had obtained during Reagan & Bush's terms.

No axe-grinding rumor promulgated by old White Citizens Council guys (his enemies in Arkansas politics) went unexamined for use nationally.

From "renounced his citizenship" to "trashed the White House" they threw ball after ball of elephant dung at him hoping some would stick, and what didn't stick would pile up around him so they could point to the cloud of steam rising from it and say "y'know, where there's smoke..."

Clinton's personal peccadilloes finally gave them something they could latch onto legally, but it didn't happen out of the blue. It was the constant stream of "scandals" that were either pure bullshit or blown-up petty stuff (and of which Republicans partake just as freely) fanned by conservative news media that painted Bill (and Hillary) as radical-leftist Al Capones that just had to be taken down, even if all you could get on him was tax evasion.

To claim that "No trumped up scandals made out of nothing" about Clinton is just mind-bogglingly ignorant.

Search on "video news release", "VNR", and/or "prepackaged news"

It's a PR tool that's become a staple, especially in local news. There's a suggested script for the lead-in (kind of obvious what it was with this example), followed by a video segment produced by some other party. And the big question is who the other parties are. It would have been interesting to see the video segment that followed, to figure out what they were trying to sell -- probably a retail association trying to promote a "come on, everybody's doing it" attitude to encourage more spending during the holidays.

They're very attractive for local stations because it gives them material to air at little or no cost, and the lead-in by the local station anchors gives the impression that it's something the station did on it's own, not something that they got from elsewhere and just used verbatim.


A video news release (VNR) is a video segment made to look like a news report, but is instead created by a PR firm, advertising agency, marketing firm, corporation, or government agency. They are provided to television newsrooms to shape public opinion, promote commercial products and services, publicize individuals, or support other interests. News producers may air VNRs, in whole or in part, at their discretion or incorporate them into news reports if they contain information appropriate to a story or of interest to viewers.

Critics of VNRs have called the practice deceptive or a propaganda technique, particularly when the segment is not identified to the viewers as a VNR. Firms producing VNRs disagree and equate their use to a press release in video form and point to the fact that editorial judgement in the worthiness, part or whole, of a VNR's content is still left in the hands of Journalists, Program Producers or the like. The United States Federal Communications Commission is currently investigating the practice of VNRs.
***
VNRs have been used extensively in business since at least the early 1980s. Corporations such as Microsoft and Philip Morris, and the pharmaceutical industry generally, have all made use of the technique.

According to the trade-group Public Relations Society of America, a VNR is the video equivalent of a press release. and presents a client's case in an attractive, informative format. The VNR placement agency seeks to garner media attention for the client's products, services, brands or other marketing goals. The VNR affords local TV stations free broadcast quality materials for use in reports offered by such stations.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_news_release

In March 2000, Candace White, marketing professor at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, co-authored a report with Mark D. Harmon for the Public Relations Society of America titled "How video news releases are used in television broadcasts." On the panel with Moscowitz and Potter, White said that the same self-interest that encourages news directors to use VNRs dictates that the material is used responsibly. "I trust news producers to be able to weed out true news value; I give them credit for being able to recognize blatant sales pitches. Our study found that the corporate videos were used the least, and the ones about health and safety were used the most," she said.

The Center for Media and Democracy's Executive Director John Stauber disagreed. "The use of VNRs amounts to systematic deception of viewers, both by the hidden interested parties behind them, and by news organizations with impure motives themselves," he said.

Reporting on a September 2005 seminar on new media, Media Daily News noted that VNRs "which can look like regular news stories to the unaided eye--can be placed in local or national newscasts." On that panel was Larry Moskowitz, the president and CEO of Medialink Worldwide. "If there is news in your brands we'll find a way to put your brands in your news. In a sense, it's product placement, but it's earned a place on the shelf," Media Daily News reported.

Medialink Worldwide, one of the largest producers and distributors of VNRs, states in its 2003 annual report that a "VNR is a television news story that communicates an entity's public relations or corporate message. It is paid for by the corporation or organization seeking to announce news and is delivered without charge to the media."

While the company likens VNRs as akin to the traditional hard copy news release, it acknowledges they are widely used in newsrooms. "Produced in broadcast news style, VNRs relay the news of a product launch, medical discovery, corporate merger event, timely feature or breaking news directly to television news decision-makers who may use the video and audio material in full or edited form. Most major television stations in the world now use VNRs, some on a regular basis," Medialink states.
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Video_news_releases


More evidence of that–if any is necessary–comes in the form of this clip reel put together by Conan O'Brien's Conan show, which shows a large number of TV anchors reading from the same script about a story of immense public importance: a smartphone app for ice cream delivery:

As O'Brien comments, "I don't find that funny–I find it scary."

This would appear to be one more example of what Free Press and others were warning us about a few years back–fake news segments that are really just corporate PR planted in the middle of a "newscast."

The FCC should, in theory, do something about this manipulation of the news on the public airwaves. But the commission has been extremely slow to act. As James Rainey reported in the L.A. Times (3/30/11), two stations faced slap-on-the-wrist fines for airing commercials dressed up as news–four years after the offending broadcasts aired.
http://www.fair.org/blog/2012/07/19/local-tv-news-now-with-ice-cream/

Woo woo woo woo

Break time. Get a snack.

Proof of Hollywood's War on Christmas!



A charming little ditty in response to trolls and haters

Is "Obamacare collapse" Obama's Katrina... or the Right's Fitzmas?

Many may remember back around this time in 2005, when Partick Fitzgerald was investigating the the exposure of Valerie Plame as a covert CIA operative, and many people in our virtual neighborhood were eagerly anticipating "Fitzmas", the indictment of Karl Rove and others in Club Shrub.

Nicked Scooter Libby, kinda, but all the biggest bad guys walked away unscathed.

The fizzle of Fitzmas left a lot of people with egg on their face, and a few with a whole truckload of eggs in the face-omlette.

I'm reminded of that anticipatory glee these days by what comes out of the infoxicated world.

I think the Fitzmas is on the other foot now.

Speaking of Déja Vu...

I like to use this (conservative) political cartoon from 1860. The characterization of Lincoln and his supporters would be at home at any Tea Party rally -- where it'd be used to describe Democrats in general and liberals in particular.

“People who just want stuff”: 1860

See if you recognize the playbook:

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2003674590/

"The Republican Party Going to the Right House"

Lincoln rides in on a rail (fence rail, that is), carried by Horace Greely (anti-slavery editor of the New York Tribune), leading his followers into a lunatic asylum.
GREELY: "Hold on to me Abe, and we'll go in here by the unanimous consent of the people."
LINCOLN: "Now my friends I'm almost in, and the millennium is going to begin, so ask what you will and it shall be granted."

Younger Woman: "Oh! what a beautiful man he is, I feel a passionate attraction' every time I see his lovely face."
Bearded Man: "I represent the free love element, and expect to have free license to carry out its principles."
Man with trim beard and hat: "I want religion abolished and the book of Mormon made the standard of morality."
Caricatured black man: "De white man hab no rights dat cullud pussons am bound to spect' I want dat understood."
Older woman: "I want womans rights enforced, and man reduced in subjection to her authority."
Scruffy man with bottle: "I want everybody to have a share of everybody elses property."
Barefoot man: "I want a hotel established by government, where people that aint inclined to work, can board free of expense, and be found in rum and tobacco."
Seedy top-hat man: " I want guaranteed to every Citizen the right to examine every other citizen's pockets without interruption by Policemen."
Man at the end: "I want all the stations houses burned up, and the M.P.s killed, so that the bohoys can run with the machine and have a muss when they please."
Let’s go down the list, shall we?:
Supported by "liberal media": Check
Liberals will embark on profligate giveaways to THOSE PEOPLE? Check.
Flighty, emotional, entranced by charisma/celebrity? Check.
People conservatives consider sexual deviants? Check.
People conservatives consider religious deviants? Check (and how ironic, this particular turn).
Grasping minorities after special rights? Check.
"Feminazis"? Check.
There's a vast army of layabouts, drug users, thugs, and outright thieves who want to take your hard-earned stuff? Check, check, check, and check.

A hundred and fifty years later, and they're playing the same tune.

55 minus 10

Below is an image of the US Federal income tax rates for 1955 adjusted for inflation.

Lop 10% off the rate in each bracket: 20% becomes 10%, 22% becomes 12%, all the way up.

The biggest reason for directly basing it off the 50s tax rates (and lower than what was in effect then) is to fire a shot across the bow of everyone these days throwing around the term "socialist" for policies that used to be considered "right wing".

Simon & Schuster pulling Benghazi book

Source: Politic

By HADAS GOLD |
11/8/13 2:53 PM EST

The publisher for Dylan Davies, the source of "60 Minutes" controversial Benghazi report, announced on Friday that they are pulling his book "in light of information" brought to their attention since it's publication.

Threshold Editions, a subsidiary of Simon & Schuster, which is owned by CBS, said on Friday they are notifying stores that copies of the book, titled "The Embassy House," can be returned to the publisher, New York Times' Julie Bosman tweeted.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2013/11/simon-schuster-pulling-benghazi-book-177108.html



Beaking

What he describes is at best "salvaged", not "won"

Here's the money quote:

At the highest level, President Bush's decision to conduct the surge was exceedingly courageous. His advisers were split on the decision, with many favoring other approaches that in my view would have failed. And as the going did get tougher over the early months of the surge, President Bush's steadfast leadership and his personal commitment to seeing the war through to a successful conclusion (albeit one that might take many years to unfold) took on enormous significance.

***
President Bush's commitment had an enormous psychological effect on our men and women in Iraq, as well as on the Iraqi people. Our troopers recognized that we had a chance to do what was needed to reverse the terrible cycle of violence that had gripped Iraq in the throes of civil war. And the citizens of the Land of the Two Rivers realized that there was still hope that the new Iraq could realize the potential that so many had hoped for in the wake of the ousting of Saddam Hussein and the collapse of the Ba'athist regime in 2003.

Nowhere does he mention that everything he writes about was due to the complete, double-barreled failures of Bush: first and foremost for launching the war under false pretenses, and second -- having launched the war -- the absolute and complete failure to maintain order and provide the public with basic security and other needs. Everything in Petraeus's article is about cleaning up the mess that took root because Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and the rest of the neocon PNAC gallery bet the lives of soldiers and civilians that their pet power play could be done on the cheap. And what would they care if it didn't? They got rid of Saddam like they wanted to, and the rest didn't cost them anything, did it? What price did they pay?

Iraq is not a "win", certainly not on the alleged (and now obviously false to anyone not infoxicated) reasons for launching the invasion, nor even on "oust Saddam and let Iraqis move on" grounds. Accepted counterinsurgency doctrine would have required at least twice the number of troops Rumsfeld sent in, with three- or four-times the number more likely to be effective. Of course, troop levels that high would have made it impossible to keep claiming that the war could be done quickly and cheaply, which would have changed the political calculations of those who voted for the AUMF. So the Bushies said whatever would get their foot in the door, and to hell with whoever paid the actual price for it.

That observation is glaringly absent from Petraeus' talk about his "win".

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