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Nader writes: "When one of America's leading newspapers decides to lighten up or stupefy - take your pick - its content at a time of grave developments and degradations in our society - local, regional, national and international, 'We the People' need to be part of the conversation."

People's Indignation Rally against biased and partisan news media, Times Square, NYC on October 17th, 2009. (photo: Asterio Tecson)
People's Indignation Rally against biased and partisan news media, Times Square, NYC on October 17th, 2009. (photo: Asterio Tecson)

Serious News in Low Supply From Mainstream Media

By Ralph Nader, The Nader Page

02 February 13


n January 30, 2013, an unusual front-page story appeared prominently in The Washington Post about a small D.C. charity called Martha's Table that serves meals to 1,100 people a day, has early-childhood and after-school programs, and provides other community-enriching programs. Among its distinctions is a giant volunteer corps of, according to the Post, "10,000 school kids, poor people and the occasional president who chops vegetables and builds sandwiches." Fascinating!

The only reason for the Post writing and front-paging the article is that the new, full-time, volunteer president is Patty Stonesifer, ex-Microsoft megamillionaire, ex-chief executive of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and ex-chairperson of the Smithsonian Institution's Board of Regents. Amazing!

The Post's million readers also got to see Ms. Stonesifer say, "I was amazed at how there is a city within a city here ... This idea that the District [of Columbia] has so much child hunger, it's mind-boggling."

The Post, the local television stations and cable shows often do not showcase the District's big dirty secret. That, among its glittering affluent class (mostly shorn of noblesse oblige), half-dozen major universities and governmental departments, there is widespread, deep poverty, unhealthy and afflicted children, and higher rates of cancer and diabetes, for example, than most states.

What is important to the Post and other local media are local professional sports, local entertainment, visiting celebrities, and endless gossip or other permutations of such page- and time-fillers. The Post obviously believes that the injured knee of rookie sensation, Robert Griffin III and its impact on the Redskins' organization are too big for its sport pages, and required multiple front-page stories since RGIII injured himself during playoffs in January.

The Post has been cutting back - ending its separate daily business section and its separate Sunday Book Review section. But its (spectator) sports section remains large with numerous reporters, columnists, feature writers, editors and gossip-mongers frantically scurrying around.

The Post's front page features an article by sports columnist Sally Jenkins, but not one by their recently retired, superb business columnist Steve Pearlstein, who tells readers how and why their living standards are being mauled by big business. I doubt that readers would be upset were Ms. Jenkins to have written that column back in the sports pages instead.

When one of America's leading newspapers decides to lighten up or stupefy - take your pick - its content at a time of grave developments and degradations in our society - local, regional, national and international, "We the People" need to be part of the conversation. It is not sufficient to be told vaguely about the illusive "surveys" of reader opinion that do not convey the availability of real choices.

Space and time for serious matters are also increasingly limited in other news outlets. Over 90 percent of commercial radio is music and advertisements. Commercial TV entertainment and ads are not far behind. There are fewer examples of serious, compelling programming by the national afternoon entertainment shows than there were in the Phil Donahue, Mike Douglas and Merv Griffin shows. These shows found some time to inform readers about auto safety, unsafe medicines and other consumer and environmental subjects. Now, it is nonstop sadomasochism, reality show family drama or other similar kinds of cheating and betrayals in relationships. Forget about local television shows - most are long gone, having been displaced by these syndicated shows.

Bear in mind, much of this modern Sodom and Gomorrah is conducted on our public airwaves used by broadcasters for free. When I called Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, the leading bloviated soliloquists on radio, "corporate welfare kings," they were nonplussed as if profitably using our public airwaves without payment is their birthright.

This week, the media buildup is for the Superbowl. Endless articles, features and gossip, with huge photographs, swarm superficially over the pages and airwaves and cable networks. There is simply no such restraint. Enough is enough! Soon, the buildup will be for Hollywood's Oscars on February 24, and all the "players" will be profiled and psycho-analyzed.

In the meantime, valiant Americans are striving to reduce or prevent the pain, anguish and costs of preventable tragedies - poverty, repression, marginalization, exclusion and the chronic indifference to posterity in favor of vested pressures for instant gratification. The press releases, reports, accomplishments and testimonies of those striving for justice receive very little coverage from the mass media.

Groups with compelling causes come from around the country to the National Press building for well-prepared news conferences only to find no one there from the press, except an occasional indie reporter. NPR and PBS do not come close to wanting to fill some of this void.

Without media coverage, the civic community cannot, even if it demonstrates in the streets and squares, expand its audience of concern. Citizen morale struggles to persist in the face of powerful opposition. Gone is the wisdom of famed newspaper publisher, Joseph Pulitzer who advised his reporters "to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

People in the colony of the District of Columbia march, protest, and host important news conferences to press for statehood so that they can have a voting representative and senator(s) in Congress. They regularly get shut out of the local media. After all, it's only electoral democracy they're working to install.

Maybe a blend is necessary. How about Robert Griffin III becoming the full-time chair of the D.C. statehood association, in the off-season? Or would that give the editors of the Post too much cognitive dissonance? your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+122 # PABLO DIABLO 2013-02-02 15:25
Once again, THANK YOU Ralph Nader for being a watchdog for the public good.
-61 # Rain17 2013-02-02 21:28
Nader was such a "watchdog for the public good" that he intentionally helped throw the election to Bush in 2000. While I'll concede Nader wasn't the only factor, had he not been running, there almost certainly would have been no FL recount or Supreme Court case.

What has Nader really done in recent years beyond throwing elections to the Republicans? I can't think of anything.
+34 # Ken Halt 2013-02-03 03:06
R17: You're a victim of conservative propaganda. Read Palast's "The Best Democracy That Money Can Buy" if you care to inform yourself. The major reasons for the FL debacle were rooted in the FL administration' s determined assault on democracy, headed up be GW's brother as guv and the FL secretary of state, K. Harrison, who was GW's FL campaign manager. The election wouldn't have been close without the voter purge and other dirty tricks by the GOP.
-14 # Rain17 2013-02-03 11:34
But Nader's presence on the ballot sure made their job easier.
+10 # Scotty44 2013-02-03 13:23
If only Nader had been a factor, then the democrats might move to the left, rather than become Republican light. If the left can't demonstrate that they matter when it counts, they don't.
-3 # Rain17 2013-02-03 19:34
Why should the Democrats adopt the Nader platform? They would be lucky to get 40% of the vote.
+20 # reiverpacific 2013-02-03 11:01
Quoting Rain17:
Nader was such a "watchdog for the public good" that he intentionally helped throw the election to Bush in 2000. While I'll concede Nader wasn't the only factor, had he not been running, there almost certainly would have been no FL recount or Supreme Court case.

What has Nader really done in recent years beyond throwing elections to the Republicans? I can't think of anything.

Oh Gawd, not that old saw again; some of you need to get over this shit!
Nader has put his body, mind and reputation on the line more times than you can count -and it was the bent SCOTUS and Gore lack of fight that put Bush in. Hopefully (but maybe not) you are probably one of those who desire more and varied participation in the elections; can't have it both ways; get back to the real battle.
+2 # Rain17 2013-02-03 11:36
Without Nader there likely would have been no SCOTUS case. The US electoral system is winner take all. Nader had no chance of winning.
+2 # Scotty44 2013-02-03 13:37
Do you have any evidence Gore would have been better? Out of power, he can say whatever he wants without harm, except disclose the crimes of the security apparatuses. Obama did the same until he got elected, then he was no better than Bush in his service to the oligarchs of the energy, financial, and war industries, and empowerment of the security apparatuses. Politicians have learned from the Kennedy assassinations that they really don't have control. If they were too effective in serving the public, they would be snuffed out by scandal or death.
+9 # Billsy 2013-02-03 14:15
Nader's candidacy existed to bring to light issues ignored by the other two parties, as have countless other independents. Were the MSM to include them in their reporting and debates as does Democracy Now e.g., our news would be far more compelling and interesting and our electorate better informed. Get off your flimsy soapbox please as your theory has already been discussed and disproved. You seriously need to move on and the democratic party and its candidates need to accept responsibility for their losses in 2000 and 2004. They ran weak campaigns. Stick to point. Once great newspapers like the Post have dumbed down their reporting even further and TV news hasn't mattered since the 1970s.
+4 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-02-04 20:21
Democrats didn't run weak campaigns in 00 and 04. They were not responsible for the loss.
In 00 the Supreme Court stopped the recount, and in 04 the Ohio vote flipped to a server in Chatanooga, Tennessee, where Kerry's winning numbers turned into winning numbers for Bush.
This is all online, easily researched, and would have been in the press if we had a working off-internet press.
+7 # tabonsell 2013-02-03 14:10
It was the United States Congress that made Bush the president.

The Supreme Court decision only stopped the state-wide recount that would have made Gore the winner, but the decision only applied to that recount and the two parties (Bush and Gore) to the lawsuit.

Nothing in the suit applied to Congress that has the constitutional duty to count the electoral college votes and declare a winner. Congress could have refused to count Florida's votes until a compete and honest recount had been conducted.

Congress at the time was controlled by the Republican Party and the last thing any Republican wants is a fair and honest election – unless a Republican won under such circumstances.
+12 # Anarchist 23 2013-02-03 14:58
Rain 17 -you forget all those Florida Jewish votes that strangely enough were 'cast' for Buchanan as revealed in the great Hanging Chad drama. The 2000 sElection was more like 'Grand Theft Auto' than a real election in a real democracy. .
+4 # davehaze 2013-02-03 16:16
If Gore had not run we would have had Nader president.

Gore intentionally ran to prevent a Nader presidency.
+2 # Rain17 2013-02-03 19:33
Big difference. Gore actually had a chance of winning. Nader didn't.
+7 # soularddave 2013-02-03 20:43
Quoting Rain17:

What has Nader really done in recent years beyond throwing elections to the Republicans? I can't think of anything.

See? You're stuck with silly, little "made for TV" soundbites. You, too, are a victim of what Mr. Nader is talking about. Have you missed History because you don't want to expend the effort to understand, or did the MSM (convenient, commercial media) fail to put it out there for you?
If the NYT is the Nation's "newspaper of record", it's doing a fine job of telling the world that the USA is becoming meaningless. I listen to NPR all the time, and have for many years. I'm here to tell you that NPR is also in rapid decay.
I attribute the aforementioned affliction to the incursion of corporate influence over content. How can NPR criticize GMO food, for instance, if Monsanto is an "underwriting sponsor"?. How can either discuss global warming if Peabody Coal is an "underwriter"?

"No real news" is bad news for America.
+5 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-02-04 20:26
I worked for npr stations for years and was present for the beginning of the decay.

It's the saddest thing I've ever seen.

NPR has been redeeming itself a little bit lately. PRI's The World has been doing spectacular reporting from the hearings in Guantanamo, with Arun Rath tweeting and reporting the astonishing developments there. (You have a judge standing up to the government censors, and letting the defendant speak and address the court; upon which he gave a powerful and interesting speech.)
And then you also have NPR reporting on Kuwait on the Prairie, up in North Dakota, where so much fracking is going on, and so much burning off of natural gas (yes, they're just burning it off) that it shows up from space looking like a whole city, with all the light.
So someone, someone at NPR is trying.
+51 # Regina 2013-02-02 16:15
Nuthin' new here, from our media. The ancient Roman rulers called this shot, with their classic slogan "bread and circuses" to keep the public "fed" and ignorant of their political shenanigans. Are we naive in wishing for journalism?
+75 # wantrealdemocracy 2013-02-02 17:32
I live in San Francisco and is don' give a damn about the super bowl but I will hear about it all day long tomorrow but will hear nothing about the attempt to close our City College as our education moves from being a part of our common wealth into a for profit agency to enrich the greedy few. Shut down our community college with no 'news' about it and spend our tax funds on charter schools and up the tuition for our kids trying to get an education so they can get a job. This is wrong!! The people of this nation must be allowed to know just what the hell is going on. The working people are being screwed as the rich bellow "Austerity! Austerity! Cut the entitlements!" Entitled? damn right! We PAY for these programs which is more than you can say for the greedy few in the greedy rich class. They just take and get richer and the 'news' won't say a thing about it. A democracy requires that the people be informed--and NOT about the 'super bowl'. We need to hear about all the kids with empty food bowls. And we need to do something about that!
-24 # Rain17 2013-02-02 21:25
I care very much about the Super Bowl and I'm an NFL fan. But I also follow politics and the issues. If you don't want to watch the Super Bowl that's your right, but why do you have to self-righteousl y judge anyone who likes sports? I am an avid Redskin fan but I read political news and follow the issues.
+20 # RLF 2013-02-03 09:35
Sports...the new opiate of the masses.
-3 # Rain17 2013-02-03 12:41
What's wrong with liking sports?
0 # tpmco 2013-02-03 14:42
How do you know what is an issue?
+2 # ruttaro 2013-02-03 15:32
I'm a bit dissapointed at the negatives you are receiving. Like you, I, too like sports and watching them, especially my Florida Gators and dismal Cleveland Browns. And like you I also follow politics closely, engaged with issues. I guess some negative responses are concerned with people who live only for sports and show no interest in anything else. There are plenty of people in our society like that who are disengaged from important issues and they are truly the satisfied "Bread and Circuses" crowd others have referred to. But we should be careful not to paint everyone who likes sports with the broadd brush making them out to be dullards and dimwits. Recently, Bob Costas gave his views on a gun culture and caught quite a bit of heat for it. I wouldn't say Bob Costas is a politically disengaged person even if his love for sports makes him a sports encyclopedia. Yes, sports like religion could be the opiate of the masses as RLF says below. And I'm sure sports is that escape/distract ion that the plutocracy wants it to be for millions. Thatis both sad and counter productive for the helathy democracy Madison, Jefferson and other founders advocated for: one enshrined and invigorated by an educated, informed population. But I never read where they felt people could not have various other interests to compliment their lives. I hope liking sports does not mean exclusion from this community. Enjoy the Super Bowl; I will when the Browns are in it.
0 # Rain17 2013-02-03 19:36
With some of these people it seems to be.
+2 # davehaze 2013-02-03 16:25
Rain17 Don't wish to rain on your charade of comprehending what you read but how did you interrupt what Nader wrote with "self-rightousl y judge anyone who likes sports?"

Just grab a beer and a comfy seat in front of the big-screen and leave the thinking up to those capable of it.
0 # Rain17 2013-02-03 19:36
Well, as I type this message, I'm watching the Super Bowl.
+26 # MainStreetMentor 2013-02-03 08:20
Matt Taibbi (“Rolling Stone”) and Chris Hedges (“Truth Out”) are both punching very large (and growing) holes of reader interests with their fearless, accurate and truthful exposes of corruption and miscreant dealings in government and big business. There are other journalists who are beginning to join ranks with Taibbi and Hedges, who have inherited and absorbed (perhaps through reincarnation) the backbone and tenacious inquisitiveness of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite. Their motivations may very well be the insulting outrage caused by the blatant audacity of greed-generated sense of being above the law by Wall Street and selected members of Congress, and the fact these persons have, indeed, broken the law and all sense of heretofore generally accepted standards of ethical behavior.
+4 # soularddave 2013-02-03 20:51
Al Jazeera may well be an up and coming voice in American Journalism. I learn much from the BBC about the USA. Perhaps the perspective on America is all wrong, and we need what CNN provided in the early years.
+12 # X Dane 2013-02-02 23:28

Darn it, you took the words right out of my mouth. "Bread and circus". That is EXACTLY what is going on. The mostly right wing owned press does NOT want us to be informed. They will do all they can to prevent it. That is why there is hardly any NEWS worth watching on TV.

Rain says that he cares very much about the Super Bowl, but he is also interested in politics, that's good, but the majority glued to all our spectator sports are simply engrossed in THAT.

We need some of the wealthy democrats to start news media, print and TV to counter all the right wing PAP. We MUST have some real honest news. During Reagan's time they realized that to gain and keep power they needed to control the media.

Unfortunately the democrats didn't realize it. Just as it is NOT good news that Scot Brown will run for governor. All the republican ere are more than 30!!! are working hard at engineering election, so they can take back the White House.

Democrats need to be active in the state governments, that is the way to get in charge. The republicans currently in charge gerimandered so many district, that they are totally safe and idiots like Louis Gomert stays in the "house"
not to mention Michelle Bachman!!
+6 # Rain17 2013-02-03 11:39
There are two issues here. I fully agree about wealthy Democrats and liberals standing up and creating their own media outlets. What is needed is someone who can fund a network with the necessary business skills to keep it viable.

As for state governments you are 100% correct. I've always advocated that progressives who want better Democrats start at the very local level because those offices are gateways to higher positions.
+5 # Scotty44 2013-02-03 13:42
It is hard for a progressive to move from the local to national level because the national parties control who get the big campaign bucks.
+1 # Rain17 2013-02-03 19:41
Well that's how the Christian Right took over the GOP. They first ran for obscure local offices no one wanted like school board, county clerk, county council, and so forth. They aggressively ran for those offices because they had the lowest barriers of entry.
+4 # Scotty44 2013-02-03 22:43
Since they really didn't buck the Republican leadership, the leadership had no reason to oppose them. Progressives do not line up well with the right of center democratic party controlling DC.
+2 # Rain17 2013-02-03 23:18
But that is how they took over the GOP. They organized and took over the party at the local level. Those elected to positions like school board and other local offices are the pipeline to Congress and to the Senate. And some elements of the GOP did oppose them, but they eventually became the GOP base.

If you want more progressive Democrats that's the way to go. The best place to exert energy and time is at the local level because those offices are easier to win. The other point is that they can often lead to higher elected offices. Finally lots of major policies are enacted at the local level.
+3 # soularddave 2013-02-03 21:01
Stand where you are and look around. There's a new medial model, and we're right here in it. See any commercials or evidence of "corporate sponsors"? Do you get to participate? Can you tell that you're not alone here?

RSN (and a few others) may well be the new model for substantive news and non-fiction information. Will sources such as these succeed? Only time will tell is readers (and participants) will support the effort to provide relevant information to those of us with an interest is important issues.

(yes, I donate to RSN, because I believe its an effective forum in which to learn and judge attitudes)
0 # X Dane 2013-02-05 13:00
rain 17.
Thanks, it is great to be agreed with.
I think many politicians want to get to the senate and "House" I just wish they would get more influence in their state houses first, for that is where the start to change the big picture begins.

All the newly elected republican governors are working very hard to make it impossible for democrats to get a "foothold" by weakening teachers. unions and the like, and totally gerimander the districts.

Unless democrats get into their state senates and governorships, they will not be able to get to the White House. It may be the long way around, but I have heard many strategists state that, that is the way to go, and it makes sense
+13 # Nominae 2013-02-03 07:06
Quoting Regina:
Nuthin' new here, from our media. The ancient Roman rulers called this shot, with their classic slogan "bread and circuses" to keep the public "fed" and ignorant of their political shenanigans. Are we naive in wishing for journalism?

I don't think we are. After all, ancient Rome did not produce bread and circuses after having had a long and proud history of enjoying an active and relentlessly investigative press corps such as we enjoyed here during the Sixties and Seventies. One which actually helped us end the Viet Nam War, get rid of Nixon, and provided other such notable "public services".

The Ancient Romans could not miss that which they never had.

Soon, however, our citizens will forget what they used to have.

The only people in this country as cognitively "numb" as the Ancient Roman public are the younger generations who grew up never HAVING a free press in this country, but only the corporately controlled gossip, fluff, and distraction action that passes for "news" in present times.

These persons, then, and the endemic "low information voters" who have existed as least since the time of Ancient Rome.

The kind of journalism practiced by Woodward and Bernstein in the Seventies would buy investigative reporters time in Gitmo today, hounded as "traitors, terrorists, and Al Qaida spies.

But, if one is too young to remember the Seventies - apparently no harm, no foul.
+6 # Rain17 2013-02-03 11:40
Well Woodward today had completely sold out. He and other reporters are now part of the same elitist village and bubble that exists in DC.
+1 # X Dane 2013-02-05 13:08
Rain 17
I am so disappointed and really disgusted with Woodward, because you are right he sure has sold out, but....He may never have been a progressive. Watergate may just ha to himve been a great SCOOP???

Bernstein on the other hand IS a progressive.
+1 # Scotty44 2013-02-03 13:57
My kid informs himself a hell of a lot better than I did. He gets his news from the internet blogs and foreign press mostly. He posted on facebook a link to a nerd site, that had smart comments in the string I've checked out, without vitriolic that isn't aimed at changing hearts and minds. So I'm not sure your assumption that the younger generations are more ignorant than we were. We certainly didn't have anything comparable to OWS focused on the economy.
+1 # Nominae 2013-02-03 20:47
Quoting Scotty44:
My kid informs himself a hell of a lot better than I did. He gets his news from the internet blogs and foreign press mostly. He posted on facebook a link to a nerd site, that had smart comments in the string I've checked out, without vitriolic that isn't aimed at changing hearts and minds. So I'm not sure your assumption that the younger generations are more ignorant than we were. We certainly didn't have anything comparable to OWS focused on the economy.

I did not say, nor did I mean to imply, that our "younger generations are more ignorant than we were." What I meant to say, and what I believe I *did* say, is that they did not grow up with the benefit of a strong free press. I believe that fact to be self evident, just check the media.

I commend your son and all others like him for working *around* the absence of a strong Fourth Estate by creating their OWN way of staying informed, and of filtering the daily B.S.

All generations are now forced to WORK for sufficient real data to become well-informed citizens. The Press was never perfect, but in the days of the older generations, (Murrow, Cronkite, Koppel), one did not need a PHD in Research Sciences to get a reasonably solid grasp in the daily news.

I also celebrate OWS, and see them as the harbinger of new future that has already begun.

But we did have something to contribute as well. The '60s Counter Culture forced huge changes post WWII.
+12 # Nominae 2013-02-03 07:18
Quoting Regina:
Nuthin' new here, from our media. The ancient Roman rulers called this shot, with their classic slogan "bread and circuses" to keep the public "fed" and ignorant of their political shenanigans. Are we naive in wishing for journalism?

Regina - P.S. to my previous Post -

In the Seventies there were well over 5,000 news media outlet owners in the U.S.

All of that - TV, Radio, Newspapers, etc. - is now owned by
a whopping total of 6 Giant Corporations.

What could *possibly* go wrong ?
+9 # RLF 2013-02-03 09:37
Funny how almost every city has a tax payer funded stadium to subsidize these sports. Bread (or sugar) and circuses! Sooo right!
0 # Rain17 2013-02-03 11:41
And what's wrong with liking sports? Can't you like sports and be well-informed about politics?
+1 # Cassandra2012 2013-02-05 12:17
Like it if you like it. But sports is not 'news' and DOMINATES almost all the media /tv and radio. A bore to those of us who would like to hear what is going on in the world. BBC and Al-Jazeera do a better job.
+58 # Barbara K 2013-02-02 16:33
I have been missing the real news for some time now. It is all about politics or gossip about a politician, or someone else. I miss seeing what is really happening in the world. RSN is a big help.
+26 # ruttaro 2013-02-02 21:23
The "something else" just might be the poitical project of making the world unsafe for political democracy but safe for consumer democracy. When I worked for a newspaper years ago I saw what was happening, just couldn't see the larger development was. I do now. We have a corporatocracy meaning corporations control the economic and political realms. They control the power structures;they have it all. The corporations started consolidating the news communication industry over half a century ago first colonizing then controling and finally owning it all. They have the Fourth Estate and money trumps news. It is the SOP for every sector; money trumps our health, our nutrition, our environment, our future. All going on while we are distracted by choices - mind-numbing choices in the grocery store, the apparel store, cable TV. We are entertained and tempted all at once. We have choices to buy things - consumer democracy - but not political democracy that would challenge the power structures. Behavioral psychologists confirm that many choices stress us out and leave us unable to give deep, serious thought to what is important. We are overwhelmed. Even though Ralph Nader hits the nail on the head, the Washington Post is not going to afflict the comfortable because the comfortable own the Post. And we, the people, vote for the Next American Idol, talk excitedly about it, watch countless run-ups to the Super Bowl, and say nothing to what is crushing us to the last drop.
+8 # X Dane 2013-02-02 23:33

Unfortunately you are spot on. I wish you were not.
+4 # ruttaro 2013-02-03 13:08
X Dane, I do too. Yes, there are many activists out there many fighting for good causes. Most are within very specific, informed epistemic communities across the globe with members linked through the internet and by their specific interests. However, the critical mass of people necessary to bring about a real challenge to the power structure are simply overwhelmed by choices while unaware and thus uninformed about the machinations of the corporatocracy. Those who do have a good idea as to who is crushing the life out of them feel powerless to do anything as the chains are already in place. At the university where I teach, a large majority of students feel very strongly about vital issues such as climate change, environmental destruction, habitat loss, workers rights, etc. but have to split their time between studying and work. Many are so far in debt that you can see in their faces the tragic realization of knowing they must diminish their hopes to get by. No time for dreams; no space for imagination; all energy to the machine. Exchange for what? Choice of things,palliati ves.
The corporatocracy knows that controlling the media controls the message. They know we have the numbers that in a political democracy would change the power structures. But they have the message and it is to atomize, distract and bewilder. Wants become needs, we work harder getting no where except to stores where we exercise our harmless freedom of choice. We allow ourselves to ground up.
0 # X Dane 2013-02-05 13:20
Again I agree. On the 17th...I think there is going to be....The arrangers say...the biggest march for Climate change and to stop the damned, disastrous keystone pipeline.

I would love to go, but I am 79 and I was just diagnosed with cancer so I have my hands full.
+13 # Starheart 2013-02-02 16:37


+29 # Trueblue Democrat 2013-02-02 16:38
I quit looking at the Washington Post during the Clinton Administration, when not only its editorial writers but its alleged hard-news reporters were trying to beat the NYT to the latest Bill Clinton scandal (phoney of course) being peddled by various right-wing nutcases.

My confidence was not restored when 9/11 occurred and the Post, along with virtually all our mega-buck media organizations, joined the Bush/Cheney war party.
+9 # Rain17 2013-02-02 21:23
I remember the self-righteous article that Sally Quinn wrote during the Clinton impeachment:

That article, if you can get past the self-serving and self-righteous tone, was seminal. Now I think about it, as it is dated from November 1998, it stands as an example of prescient foreshadowing. If you want to know why media like the Washington Post don't cover the issues as well as they used to, that article answers your questions.

This section says it all:

"We have our own set of village rules," says David Gergen, editor at large at U.S. News & World Report, who worked for both the Reagan and Clinton White House. "Sex did not violate those rules. The deep and searing violation took place when he not only lied to the country, but co-opted his friends and lied to them. That is one on which people choke."

If you read that article you see that most reporters in the mainstream media have close relations to the elected and government officials they cover. They're "friends" and thus there's no way that they can cover news in a truly journalistic way.

The days of Bob Woodward uncovering Watergate back in the 1970s are over. Those days of reporting are forever gone. And if you want to know that link answers your question.
+4 # X Dane 2013-02-03 00:16
Trueblue Democrat.
I'm disappointed in the Post too. I thought they were reasonable. They WERE, when Kathryn Graham was in charge. Or maybe the Watergate reporting was just a matter of getting a scoop?

I am also surprised by Bob Woodward. he was awfully chummy with the Bush White House. And he is always harping on Obama His criticisms of Bush did not happen until the end. So Woodward sure is no liberal, for him Watergate was also just the scoop. Berntein, his former partner is thank heaven still worth reading.
+1 # Rain17 2013-02-05 20:20
The bottom line with the "Village" is:

1. When the GOP wins the Denocrats must capitulate.

2. When the GOP loses the Denocrats must be "bipartisan".

3. The GOP is allowed to be rude and nasty because "both sides do it".

4. If the Democrats are even remotely rude and nasty they must immediately apilogize.

5. Bipartisanship, a la the late David Broder, means that the Democrats must give the GOP 90% of what it wants.

6. When the GOP refuses to compromise it is a "string stand on principle.

7. When Denocrats hold their ground they are being "unreasonable."
0 # Cassandra2012 2013-02-05 12:24
However, it was ONLY the Washington Post that accurately covered the gigantic mall-filling DC March for Women's Lives in March, 2004 — 1.3 MILLION PEACEFUL MARCHERS from every state in the union — totally ignored by e.g. CNN, the Chicago papers and TV media.
And of course, Bush dimwit left Washington to 'clear brush' on his 'ranch'!!!! and had his 'spokeswoman' declare all 1.3 million women, men, and children in the march to be 'terrorists'!
0 # X Dane 2013-02-05 13:24
CNN is trying to compete with Fox by being more and more like them. I rarely watch it anymore. They have a few decent people like Soledad O Brian. She is gutsy and will stand up the crap from republicans.
+28 # Gnome de Pluehm 2013-02-02 16:41
That's because grownups are dying off in the US and THEY ARE NOT BEING REPLACED!
+46 # frederico 2013-02-02 17:01
+28 # MindDoc 2013-02-02 17:02
Just so so true! The homogenized, fluff-filled "news" I've watched as late, often simply does not rise to the level of 'noteworthy'. Leaving the post aside - I once did a study of their headlines and contrasted them with reality, nothing surprising there - I'm increasingly alarmed by our "national news" story choices. Last night the NBC Nightly news presented a story about the death of W's dog Barney, which preceded the story on Ed Koch, as well as news from the world which may impact viewers.

One has to wonder what goes on the decision-making as to what constitutes "news" and their view of what we the viewer want. Fluff? They only have 20-something minutes to cover flashpoints and disasters around the world, the ongoing buffoonery in our Congress and economic positioning, etc., etc. And what are we given? Fluff, 2 minutes of real news, and more fluff. Why, I wonder, do we watch "world news"? To see cute videos and see promos for reality shows and web-based non-news masquerading as news? One wonders why the BBC, CBC, DWTV, and so many other great news organizations are able to present the most important news of the day, but the average US viewer, whether it's CBS, NBC, ABC, or Fox - is treated as if we are 4th graders or junk-show addicts. What happened to journalism? Is it too dangerous to speak these days about the important news of the day, that of consequences for real lives? Disturbing trend of dumbing down (or disrespecting) viewers continues, on steroids.
+8 # Regina 2013-02-03 00:42
That's because American TV is on air to SELL. not TELL.
+22 # Leadyourself 2013-02-02 17:10

as usual,you have brilliantly articulated

how BAD something is ; in this case,

our presently-usele ss Freedom

Of The Press.

Which all crumbled to the drivel it has

become since the 2000 Election when

America's longtime standard-bearer for

TRUSTWORTHY journalism--

TheNewYorkTimes--allowed George

W.Bush and The Supreme Court to

steal the American Presidency from the

winner--Al Gore.

(History will show that Gore didn't

object,either---his Academy Award and

hundreds of millions pocketed from

Google and Apple are certainly a

chump change consolation prize.)


I'm just as addicted to putting forth

my brilliant articulations as you are ; and

for what?

I might as well be saying this to myself

in a mirror,as may you.

We're talking to OURSELVES.

America needs a new Henry Luce

and a new Arthur Ochs Sulzburger SR.

Not to mention Katherine Graham

and Bradlee and Woodward and


And something really rich who still

has a soul to back the smartphone app

that will get America to live up to our


How can a country called

AMERICA be allowed to go out of


"Every generation needs a


--Thomas Jefferson

I know he didn't mean

"Armchair Revolutionaries " like you

and me.
+26 # reiverpacific 2013-02-02 18:01
I've been saying for a long time now that American TV and commercial radio consists of ever-longer and stuider commercials with vapid, empty stuffing loosely named "programming" in between.
How many shopping channels, soap opera channels, "paid programming", meaningless other stuff promoted by personalities without personality and these damn awards full of (as Billy Connoly one said "Stars you've never heard of"). The Superbowl COMMERCIALS now have their own fans, some who watch the game just for the hugely expensive specially produced ones!!! No wonder that tasteless froth Budweiser gets away with calling itself "King of Beers"!
And don't get me going on the alleged network news and weather on both TV and Clear Channel radio monpoly . I saw Nader speaking in Portland OR during his first presidential run, spoofing the local network news and weather and it was funny and right on ("It was 42° in --- today and YES, 40° in --- [about three miles away]). He demonstrated a pretty good and pungent sense of humor as well as an innate ability to pierce the constant barrages of fluff that these commercials pay for.
No wonder so many yahoos get elected by a confused, over-entertaine d and manipulable public who are told what to buy, think and even feel in order to amount to something.
I'm glad I was brought up in the glory days if the BBC and have lived large parts of my life overseas with NO TV.
Thanks Ralph.
+12 # keenon the truth 2013-02-02 19:59
Reiverpacific, think I have to take back what I said about the BBC (saccharine) after reading this article!

Has anyone seen the Stars and Stripes, the military 'newspaper'? It's the biggest joke out. When I asked an air force friend who was running off at the mouth about something what paper he read, he proudly replied that the Stars and Stripes told him everything he wanted to know.
+2 # reiverpacific 2013-02-03 11:03
Quoting keenon the truth:
Reiverpacific, think I have to take back what I said about the BBC (saccharine) after reading this article!

Has anyone seen the Stars and Stripes, the military 'newspaper'? It's the biggest joke out. When I asked an air force friend who was running off at the mouth about something what paper he read, he proudly replied that the Stars and Stripes told him everything he wanted to know.

And that's the way "they" like it!
-25 # Vern Radul 2013-02-02 18:01
Come on Ralph.

There is a supply of Serious News - however small it may be - from Mainstream Media?

Heh. Geeze, Ralph. Get serious. ;-)
0 # Vern Radul 2013-02-03 13:40
Lots of mainstream media fans around lately?
+1 # Nominae 2013-02-04 02:55
Quoting Antemedius:
Lots of mainstream media fans around lately?

No, this readership is just *notoriously* crippled when it comes to the grasp of tongue-in-cheek satire, or even broad sarcasm.

Some readers even *insist* that if one *is* attempting satire / sarcasm, that said attempt must be LABELED as such.

Yeah ...... I can't agree. For those readers who struggle in the identification of satire, wit, and sarcasm I can only recommend a remedial course in Mark Twain, Jonathan Swift, or more currently, and more visually, Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert.

Yup, I can just see it now: "The Damned Human Race", by Mark Twain, WARNING READERS: SATIRE AND SARCASM *MAY BE* INCORPORATED HEREIN ..., please enlist someone with a sense of humor to GUIDE you THROUGH this potential minefield, bcuz that damned cuss of a Mark Twain does NOT label each and every attempt at satire, wit and sarcasm throughout, and the ENTIRE BOOK *could* go completely over your head !"
0 # Vern Radul 2013-02-04 20:26
Unfortunately, yes.

But they probably can't help it....
+15 # lin96 2013-02-02 18:28
Always glad to read a "wakeup call" from Ralph Nader. Ralph is right. How many times can you hear all these cable shows bloviating their spin on the same subject all day and all night. It's as redundant as the same person with two shows or the analysts from the shows getting their own show. We hear about the elections from about 3 years before the election and then all the analyzing after the election and then the next election will start two years before that election. Enough is enough! All these newscasters care about is their own security. We saw what happened to Keith Obermann when he strayed away from their format. I'm sick of seeing the same old people analyzing on every show and talking above one another. An overload of opinionated egos and no real news. Hopefully, the ratings will dictate what happens to all these shows when people quit watching and have had enough. If no one watches them maybe they'll go away. The only problem is that there are people out there who believed everything they hear on these shows and they actually think it's real news.
-6 # Rain17 2013-02-02 21:11
I think that Keith Olbermann marginalized himself. Given that he has left every media outlet that he has worked with on bad terms, given that he has never lasted anywhere for a long period of time, I really think it is more about him than the outlets he worked at. Hell, he couldn't even survive at Current TV.
+13 # Helen 2013-02-02 19:12
Thank you, Ralph Nader. I've long complained about the dearth of real news. My faith in the press fell already long before our country was misled into war with Iraq. But starting then, even more mainstream news was skewed to drive a political agenda. Newscasters told us what those promoting the war wanted us to hear. Protesters and peace marches got far less coverage.

Today, we can find real news on the internet, if we have time to look for it; I appreciate Reader Supported News and send them a check once in while. Yet our internet freedom, along with cut-and-paste technology, also has enabled trouble makers to manipulate audio and video data and to widely broadcast misinformation that incites fear, hatred and violence. On the radio, accurate news and personal "views" are entangled daily. On TV, "balanced" opin ions prevail. Malicious distortions attract big audiences; when verified information emerges, it is lost beneath a wave of fresh concerns and paid political ads. And our major corporate networks keep right on airing the repackaged arguments of avid militarists and global warming deniers.

Citizens who trust scientists more than politicians and fossil fuel lobbyists will be demonstrating in Washington DC on February 17. Will they get as much press as the SuperBowl? Only if we demand it. The air waves are supposed to belong to the people. Let's ask for the coverage we deserve.
+4 # keenon the truth 2013-02-02 20:32
@Helen, why only once in a while? If you appreciate Reader Supported News, I think they deserve your regular support.
+12 # Sunflower 2013-02-02 20:26
My grandparents who were both journalists would be completely disgusted at the present state of journalism!

However instead of only complaining-- analyze!--Who wins if the people are uninformed and stupid?

Clearly the status quo. That is why we
have journalism that doesn't question the American Empire, thus the weapons manufacturers and their congressional lackies continue profiting.

Keeping people stupid and uninformed, not
to mention distracted is why
we don't have a carbon tax although it
is completely clear that such a tax would be the best way to save the climate and keep the planet safe for our
children and grandchildren.
+8 # JayMagoo 2013-02-02 20:28
You can wring your hands and weep crocodile tears all you want, but nothing can be done. Newspapers are privately owned, usually by very rich people who are usually Republicans and interested only in making money. If they want to give their readers puff-pieces about glorified lunch programs instead of investigating how the 1% is making America into a duplicate of Nazi Germany, there is nothing we can do. The truly amazing thing is how those privately owned newspapers now and then do a public service as the framers of the constitution envisioned when they gave us the First Amendment. It's a sad story; when newspapers and TV news wants to stake out a point of view, they do it energetically. Look at Rupert Murdoch's evil empire. It's up to the people to demand more, and I'm afraid it just ain't gonna happen.
+7 # X Dane 2013-02-03 00:38
Something COULD be done, if wealthy democrats started Newspapers and TV stations. AL Jazeera is doing a much better job, on both news and information.
Al Gore said that they did much better reporting on Climate Change than any other media.
+9 # Smokey 2013-02-02 20:49
(Sigh.) The goal of capitalism is to make money.... Most newspapers are supposed to be money-makers... . This may be news to some of the junior reporters. However, the point is understood by every publisher.

Air waves? That's a bit different. Broadcasters are licensed, in part, in order to reduce chaos on the air waves.
In effect, the community allows some broadcasters to use a limited resource that "belongs" to the public. In exchange for licensing, the broadcaster is expected to behave in responsible ways. (Tell it to the post-Reagan FCC.)

Solution? Something like PBS is helpful.... And, of course, there's a big need for Reader Supported News.
0 # Rain17 2013-02-02 22:48
The problem here is that, while the right-wing built their media infrastructure, the left fell asleep. Despite Air America and Current TV there have been no real efforts to create a left-leaning media infrastructure.

What is needed is for the left to create a network with a solid business plan. What was sadly missing in Air America and Current TV were those who had the business acumen to make such a network viable. The other point is that the right had numerous failure before talk radio and Fox News caught on.
-26 # Rain17 2013-02-02 21:02
"The Post obviously believes that the injured knee of rookie sensation, Robert Griffin III and its impact on the Redskins' organization are too big for its sport pages, and required multiple front-page stories since RGIII injured himself during playoffs in January."

Is it really wrong to like the NFL or the Redskins? I'm an NFL fan and I follow the Redskins, but I also read the political articles and follow the news. I don't get how smearing those who like sports is productive. Can't you like the NFL and follow the issues?

I do agree that the media doesn't do its jobs any more, but I find it really grating to hear it from Nader. This is coming from the man who helped make Bush president. And yes I'll say that because, without him, there would have been no Supreme Court. Gore would have gotten the overwhelming number of votes from people who voted for him in FL.

Nader has got to be one of the most self-serving, self-righteous people out there. What has he done lately beyond significantly helping to turn the 2000 election to Bush?
+21 # 6thextinction 2013-02-02 22:10
First of all, the US Supreme Court gave us Bush instead of Gore.
Gore got the most votes, remember? Second, Nader voters voted for Nader because they chose not to vote for Bush or Gore. If he had not run, they would have found another alternative or left the presidential choice blank.

Perhaps you should spend more time studying our politics and less time watching sports.
+9 # kalpal 2013-02-03 06:55
When an injured knee of a highly paid sports figure drives out potential stories about how congress enforces and ensures poverty in DC it is a serious matter.
-10 # Rain17 2013-02-02 22:38
I studied our politics well. Surveys showed that, had Nader not been on the FL, Gore would have gotten most of their votes. The final margin was 537 votes. If Gore just had gotten 1% of the 96K votes that Nader received, Gore would have won FL by a few hundred votes.

Nader also ran a dishonest campaign. He promised not to campaign in the swing states but did so anyway. He also knew he had no realistic chance of winning the election.

And the other fact, which many of you here won't accept, is that the US election system is winner-take-all . Not voting for Gore only helped Bush. And if Nader truly didn't want Bush to win, if he truly was against everything Bush pushed, he wouldn't have run for president and helped throw the election to Bush.

It's convenient for the Nader apologists to blame the Supreme Court. But without Nader on the ballot there would have been no Supreme Court case.

And I don't apologize for liking sports. I don't get the judgmental attitude toward those who like sports.
0 # RLF 2013-02-03 09:44
And then Gore would have gotten in and done just as Clinton and Obama which is to be a Republican in all but name. Even if it threw the election, (which I think is ridiculous) I was glad to have a second party to vote for. Go watch sports Rain, quit bothering us with you ridiculous idiocy.
+2 # Rain17 2013-02-03 11:50
Nader did help throw the election. I don't know how you and the other Nader apologists can act like he played no role in the 2000 election. Gore would have been a much better president than Bush. And there were real life consequences from Bush winning, including his two Supreme Court nominees and judicial appointees and the Iraq War. I have one friend who is a disabled veteran. My friend paid a steep price for Nader's idiocy.

Some of you honestly live in some fantasy land. Unlike Israel, where even fringe parties can win seats in the Knesset if they get 2-3% of the vote, the US election system is not proportional. It is winner-take-all and third parties only play spoiler like Nader did. There were many Americans who paid a steep price as a result of Bush becoming president.

And I'll gladly watch the Super Bowl today and enjoy it. I just font get the hostility from some of you here to those who enjoy watching sports. Some if you really seem like bitter people.
+2 # Regina 2013-02-04 02:16
Rain 17: No, you are not "all wet" despite your RSN name. The problem lies with publishers' priorities. They weren't satisfied with their sports sections. They splashed today's football circus all over the front page, where "real" news belongs. And that "circus" (in Roman terms) displaced other possible news stories because the total number of pages remained limited by economic factors, depending on ads space. Enjoy your sports, but keep a keen eye on the related distortion of journalism.
0 # Rain17 2013-02-04 20:37
Why does it bother you so much that the Super Bowl was big news yesterday? It's one of the most important sporting events of the year. Would you only be happy if it got a footnote in the far back of the paper where no one would want to read it?

I understand the point you're trying to make. I really do. I agree that the news media isn't doing its job and covering the issues. Irrespective of sports the media wouldn't be covering the issues even if there was no Super Bowl.

But why all this hostility toward football and the NFL? It almost seems like some of you look down on it. Do you all think you're morally superior to the "unwashed masses" who happen to like watching sports?
+8 # tm7devils 2013-02-02 22:44
Well it's about time someone of note has brought up this subject...I have had these same thoughts for at least 10 years. The reality crap on TV is enough to make a sane person puke. Dateline, 20/20 and 48 Hours have all gone south...why?
Could it be that the powers to be don't want an informed citizenry? After all, ignorance(of the masses) is bliss, to those who want to run the show.
Watch out!...if they can find a way to minimize the power the people have through their use of the Internet, they will...little by little.
-4 # Rain17 2013-02-02 23:48
I sadly have noticed that 48 Hours and Dateline have turned into shows about crime. Although I do like Investigation and Discovery, I wish that both Dateline and 48 Hours had stuck to their original formats of covering various issues. But apparently that is what the networks determined what the audience wants.

Maybe "the powers that be" don't want an "informed citizenry", but the information is out there. I take the time to research issues and read the news. Many Americans don't. That's the brutal reality. It's their fault for not seeking out sources beyond what they hear on the news.

But lamenting that is wishing for an America that simply isn't going to exist in the short term. One political party, the Republicans, knows how to create messaging that will reach most Americans. They know how to create messages that are brief and to the point.

The other political party, the Democrats, don't know how to create an effective message. They don't know how to create messaging that will reach most people.
+6 # Kubrick21 2013-02-03 04:44
Ralph Nader does no wrong for me, I voted for him in 2000, and I'm proud of it..Bush may have lost, who knows if he had not run, that is no reason not to run. The world stage must ultimately cater to truth, no matter who stands in the way..Bush wins election, Nader wins the war, I agree with what he says here, too, media know what is relevant in the same way it knows the difference between falling off a tricycle and the end of the world.
-3 # Rain17 2013-02-03 12:02
What war did Nader win?
+6 # tpmco 2013-02-03 16:32
The war of relevancy. Bush is no longer relevant while Nader is.
-4 # Rain17 2013-02-03 19:32
Who beyond the people on this site really cares what Nader thinks?
+1 # Anarchist 23 2013-02-03 15:04
Kill your TV. Better news on Net and news magazines anyway. Even sports has great columnist Dave Zirin(not sure of spelling) with many inside stories, politically oriented, that you won't find elsewhere.
+2 # David Grace 2013-02-03 16:00
A person needs to make their own news. One method is to call the radio talk shows and stir up the truth. Hosts may argue, but listeners can tell if they 'protesteth too much'.

For example, I just got on another network show and raised the issue of LIBOR. The host, Bob Brinker, tried to assure the listeners that the situation is now under control, but his following callers showed him to be a part of the problem.

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