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Taibbi writes: "News media outlets are increasingly coming under fire for the sin of 'false balance' or 'false equivalency.' The New York Times, one of the outlets most often accused of this offense, recently defined the term."

Hillary Clinton speaks with reporters as she departs a luncheon gathering with Senate Democrats at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, July 14th, 2016. (photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Hillary Clinton speaks with reporters as she departs a luncheon gathering with Senate Democrats at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, July 14th, 2016. (photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Stop Whining About 'False Balance'

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

17 September 16


Everyone wants to blame reporters for the rise of Donald Trump. How about the media consumer?

ews media outlets are increasingly coming under fire for the sin of "false balance" or "false equivalency." The New York Times, one of the outlets most often accused of this offense, recently defined the term:

"The practice of journalists who, in their zeal to be fair, present each side of a debate as equally credible, even when the factual evidence is stacked heavily on one side."

The crime of The Times, according to some of its readers, has been its coverage of the Clinton email and Clinton Foundation stories. As one Times reader put it, "There's too much at stake in this election for the media to stoke the belief that Hillary's mistakes (which she has definitely made) are even close to par with Trump's."

When Times public editor Liz Spayd essentially told readers that her paper was just doing its job and that readers should just suck it up and deal, she was hit with a torrent of criticism.

A pack of pundits – one might call them the false-equivalency priesthood – lashed out through pieces like "Why the Media Is Botching the Election," "Media Should Stop Treating Trump and Clinton as Equals," "Does the New York Times Have a False Balance Problem?" and countless others. 

It's getting ridiculous. Two quick thoughts:

1) The people complaining about "false balance" usually seem confident in having discovered the truth of things for themselves, despite the media's supposed incompetence. They're quite sure of whom to vote for and why. Their complaints are really about the impact that "false balance" coverage might have on other, lesser humans, with weaker minds than theirs. Which is not just snobbish, but laughably snobbish. So, shut up.

2) One of the main reasons the news media has been dumbed down over the years is because audiences have consistently rejected smart, responsible journalism in favor of clickbait stupidities like "Five Things You Didn't Know About John McCain's Penis" and "Woman Strips Naked in Front of Police Officers. You Won't Believe What Happened Next." The Bachelor and Toddlers and Tiaras crush Frontline. And people wonder why Donald Trump gets a lot of coverage? 

No doubt about it, the country is in a brutal spot right now. We are less than two months from the possibility of one of the dumbest people on the planet winning the White House. And it seems that all anyone's talked about this week, whether around the water cooler or on TV news, Twitter or Facebook, is the lung capacity of Hillary Clinton.

That sucks. But it's not all the media's fault. This is classic horse-race stuff, and if you're getting it, it's at least in part because you spent decades asking for it.

The campaign has devolved over time into an entertainment program, a degrading and vicious show where the contestants win the nuclear launch codes instead of a date with a millionaire.

Under the rules of this reality series which media consumers turn into a gigantic hit every four years, collapsing in front of a cell-phone camera at a 9/11 memorial service is more important than a dozen position papers.

It just is. You proved it when you clicked on that video of the episode last weekend and didn't read a compare-and-contrast piece on, for instance, the candidates' banking policies.

Trump himself is feeling the business end of that dynamic right now, having just reversed himself on the birther question in spectacular fashion. His "Yes, Obama was born in America, but Hillary started the birther controversy and I ended it" routine is dumb enough and full of enough lies to keep reporters busy for a good news cycle or so, until the next fiasco.

An important news story or 10 will likely die on the vine while the country obsesses over Trump's latest foot-in-mouth episode. That's the paradox with this candidate. Even the people who wish he didn't exist can't take their eyes off him. No amount of "contextualizing" or pointing out his flaws and deceptions can walk back his gravitational pull on audiences.

This is true of a lot of dumb things that take up space in the news pages, from Joe Arpaio to the Kardashians. One could argue that the users of the public's airwaves have a higher responsibility to properly inform the public that outweighs the need to chase ratings and give airtime to clown acts, but that ship sailed a long time ago.

Ask any reporter who's tried to make the news less stupid at any time over the past 40 years. Most of those people end up begging ProPublica for lunch money, while the horse-racers and celebrity-humpers get panel shows.

Ask reporters like Juan Carlos Frey, who struggled to get anyone to pay attention when he reported on mass graves of undocumented immigrants discovered along the border of Texas. 

Such stories about the mass deaths of foreigners or minorities usually get less ink than a cat stuck in a tree or a model who falls off a runway.

But lack of "balance" doesn't seem to bother too many people in that instance. It only seems to come up when the victim is a major political party with basically unlimited ability to buy its own publicity.

Media consumers voting with their eyeballs for ever-dumber political coverage creates the biggest imbalance in reality, but the "false equivalency" debate is mostly over a separate, more parochial issue of journalistic ethics.

The essence of that debate is whether or not it's appropriate to write negative things about Hillary Clinton when there's a possibility that Donald Trump might become president. Or, rather, we may say negative things about Clinton, but only if we always drape reporting in plenty of context about the worse-ness of Trump, or something.

There's not much to say about this debate apart from the fact that it's phony and absurd and that the people shrieking for "balance" are almost always at heart censors who are really concerned with keeping a view of the world with which they disagree out of the news.

There are two basic ideas of how the press is supposed to operate. One is that the system works best when reporters are free, independent and annoying, giving the public as much information as possible, so that people may sort things out for themselves.

The other is that information is inherently dangerous, and the public is too stupid to be trusted with too much of it. Throughout history there has always been a plurality of people who will believe this.

Whether it's keeping "Fuck the Police" off the airwaves or news of the collectivist famine out of Pravda, the idea is the same: People can't handle stuff.

The giveaway in this latest "false balance" debate is the language. There are people wailing about a "weaponized" media that just this once needs to be leashed a bit, given the circumstances. This is classic "information is dangerous" rhetoric.

There are even people in our business using this high-pressure situation to argue for less access and transparency, in the name of keeping future generations of politicians safe from the prying eyes of the public! Most reporters view their jobs as being basically the opposite of that.

In truth, the media landscape is massive and there's room to cover everything. It's worth noting that the exploration of Trump's iniquities and unfitness for office in the last year has been truly awesome, both in terms of raw volume and vehemence of tone.

Anyone who tries to argue that there's insufficiently vast documentation of Trump's insanity is either being willfully obtuse or not paying real attention to the news. Just follow this latest birther faceplant. The outrage is all out there, in huge quantities. It's just not having the predicted effect.

So media consumers are reduced to blaming the closeness of the race on a species they've practically made extinct with their choices over the years: investigative reporters.

The irony is, the Clinton Foundation thing is a rare example of an important story that is getting anything like the requisite attention. The nexus of elite connections that sits behind tales like Bill Clinton taking $1.5 million in speaking fees from a Swiss bank (and foundation donor) while that same bank is seeking relief from Hillary Clinton's State Department is exactly the kind of thing that requires the scrutiny of reporters.

This is particularly true since the charity is a new kind of structure, with seemingly new opportunities for conflicts, and an innovation that is likely to be replicated in the future by other politicians – perhaps even a future President Trump himself.

Such investigative reports on the mechanics of political influence are also exactly the sort of thing that media audiences routinely ignore, unless by some lucky accident they happen to be caught up in the horse-race drama of a Campaign Reality Show.

So if your complaint about these reports is, "Why now, at this crucial moment?" there's a very good answer. If these stories came out at any other time, you'd be blowing them off! And probably in favor of The Biggest Loser, or a show about people eating bugs for money. Which brings us back to the key point in all of this.

I'm as worried as anyone else about the possibility of Trump getting elected. But if it happens, it's not going to be because The New York Times allowed a few reporters to investigate the Clinton Foundation. It'll be because we're a nation of idiots, who vote the same way we choose channels: without thinking. 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

+112 # zepp 2016-09-17 11:46
Mr. Tiabbi is blaming the American people for making the media stupid? So it isn't the media making people stupid, it's people making the media stupid.
That logic seems a bit...rotationa l.
Here's the thing: if a campaign says something that is counter factual, then the media should point out it is false, and explain what the truth is.
I agree it would be lovely if CNN could tear its eyes free of Trump for ten minutes of real news, but as Matt says, ratings.
That's why America needs is version of BBC or CBC--a not-for-profit news corporation that can broadcast news without having to worry about ratings and advertisers.
+93 # REDPILLED 2016-09-17 13:39
But even PBS, depending on government funding, hews too close to the standard neocon/establis hment line on issues such as 9/11, Palestine, Ukraine, Russia, Syria, and North Korea.
+79 # Anonymot 2016-09-17 13:59
What you're saying is that the media has become the government's voice rather than its critic, no? That's not what we're supposed to find in a democracy.
+83 # 2016-09-17 14:28
Even more than the government's voice, the ADVERTISERS voice. Cannot offend anyone, hence the Sales Department might complain.

Edward R. Morrow fought this battle, as did many before him...
+11 # guomashi 2016-09-17 14:19
Indeed, while the piece reeatedly mentions Trump's problems, there is not one word on the endless wars that Hillary promise to regale us with.

Rather thinly veiled, no?

There is nothing more serious and more dangerous demanding our consideration than WW III. Not one word of it in the press. Nothing i this article improves the situation.
+8 # Hey There 2016-09-17 14:51
Google endless wars by Hillary in the media
and USA and war.
I agree that "There is nothing more serious and more dangerous demanding our consideration than WW III." and that the media is too involved in matters that have little input on the average person's life while a world war would be disastrous and we would all be subjected to what is occurring in other countries where war is being carried on.
0 # Cassandra2012 2016-09-19 16:55
And you are comfortable with der Drumpf's itchy finger on the nuclear button?
+28 # tswhiskers 2016-09-17 14:41
The PBS Newshour turns somersaults trying to present "both sides" of the issue and has since it first went on the air. The problem as I see it is that often there are more than 2 sides, i.e. the 2 political sides and the truth. I realize that bias enters into most reporting, but surely good reporters can keep it to a minimum. So far I've experienced the conservative side: Fox News, and the liberal, sorry, the PROGRESSIVE side: MSNBC, Daily Kos et al. I'm guessing here that most Americans apparently want to feed their prejudices and don't really want the truth. I, like most everyone else, have chosen my most comfortable source for news and politics. So is it telling me the truth? There is so much bias on the airwaves I may never really know.
+1 # Cassandra2012 2016-09-19 16:57
These days the KKKoch Bros. donate big
bucks to PBS so they are not exempt from their heavy-handed influence!!
+23 # fletch1165 2016-09-17 19:20
I thought PBS was more reliant on Atlantic Richfield personally, and other private foundations. Their own disclosures show PBS got just 12% of its revenues from Congress through its Corporation for Public Broadcasting in 2010. $71 million of the $570 million garnered.

I guess it depends on how you define "government."

government=major corporations and other special interest donors to me, and only serves the American public in a cursory fashion. They have taken our tax dollars for granted. As if our money is theirs to do whatever they please. Which they readily do, giving tax breaks to the most advantaged in our society even though it is us the aggregate public whose dollars fuel this society and are the backbone reaped that runs it through taxation. No taxation without representation are just hollow words to the corrupt machine. Hollow since we cannot hold them accountable and our precious government leaders in both parties are 100% in league with their corporate masters who own all the mainstream media, including PBS.
+15 # lfeuille 2016-09-17 23:35
It really doesn't depend on government funding anymore. It is just as corporate as the rest of TV and it has commercials just like any other station, though they usually come at the beginning and end of programs and don't interrupt them.
+16 # Navigatio di Brendani 2016-09-18 07:22
I agree. Every piece on our media should include the fact that 90 percent of what we Americans see, hear and read is produced by only 6 corporations controlled by only 227 executives!

Added to that atrocity is the Pearson Company textbook monopoly that dominates our schools from K - 16. So they can be sold in every state, Pearson books are edited by neocons from Texas and Arkansas to eliminate any "offensive" content.

I know, I know, it is WAY easier to only type out "MIC" or "military industrial complex," people, but that is only the TIP of the iceberg. It doesn't take long - just 2 or 3 entries - for AutoSpell to anticipate the TOTALITY of our military industrial financial media academic congressional judicial executive complex.
+2 # SusanT136 2016-09-19 14:37
PBS depends on a few generous corporate sponsors too.
0 # Cassandra2012 2016-09-19 16:58
Quoting SusanT136:
PBS depends on a few generous corporate sponsors too.

+55 # Greg Scott 2016-09-17 13:40
Ah yes...our BBC. I think they call that PBS. And what do you know, that got bought out. Look at the list of donors after say, NOVA: Koch Brothers.

Think they don't influence the agenda? Just search for "Jill Stein TPP PBS". I know it's mostly been pushed by conservative websites, but they have their own agenda. I'm a progressive and I will most likely vote for Hillary, but I want to know why that segment is cut from her interview.

And BBC itself? Programs of nostalgic praise for the upper classes...Downt on Abby etc.

It's a problem to get real information these days. Teflon interviews with the Trumph, non-interviews with Hillary.

You have to find the truth in the cracks. In one night, I saw Jimmy Fallon kiss up to the Don, but then Seth Meyers had Bernie Sanders and Charlie Rose had Maureen Dowd who gave me more insight into Doughnald than I have seen in a while...yes, he knows exactly what he is doing. (Ordinary people, don't even think for a second he is on your side.)

This is an incremental election, there was progress in the primary...progr essives realizing they are not alone...but don't expect much no matter who gets elected.
+34 # economagic 2016-09-17 15:55
"PBS. And what do you know, that got bought out."

They got CUT out, by Jesse Helms and Lynne Cheney. To stay in business (every organization's first priority is itself) they had to start taking sponsorship from corporations rich enough to cover the deficit.
+22 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2016-09-17 18:59
Quoting economagic:
[PBS] got CUT out, by Jesse Helms and Lynne Cheney.
I presume you are referring to gov't funding. It is disgusting how our MIC continues to get more and more dollars while every program designed to benefit the average person in the US gets cut. PBS, maintaining our highways and our Nat'l Parks, inspecting poultry producers, the CDC, and on and on.
0 # Cassandra2012 2016-09-19 17:00
Time for the MIC to hold the bake sales!!!
+3 # RLF 2016-09-19 05:58 in government...wh en the rich have all of the money then they get what they want...on PBS, the BBC or where ever. A god illustration of why unequal distribution of incomes is evil, evil, evil!
-14 # PeacefulGarden 2016-09-17 13:44
The BBC is too fluffy.
+32 # reiverpacific 2016-09-17 15:04
Quoting PeacefulGarden:
The BBC is too fluffy.

So tell me where else, except perhaps "The Guardian" and "Al Jazeera", you'll get balanced, well-wrtten and in-depth news from all over the world.
+31 # sus453 2016-09-17 15:37
So tell me where else, except perhaps "The Guardian" and "Al Jazeera", you'll get balanced, well-wrtten and in-depth news from all over the world.

Off the top of my head, there's Democracy Now, CounterPunch, TeleSur, IndyMedia, AJ+, sometimes RT, and probably a dozen more outlets.
+9 # Greg Scott 2016-09-17 21:31
I keep looking more on line...

TYT is thoughtful sometimes...whe n they're not too taken with themselves.

I think you have to synthesize for yourself. Everybody has some kind of's natural.

Personally, I would like to find a site with a well presented African-America n perspective. Even the good progressive sites, like this one, are sympathetic to A-A concerns but don't really have that perspective.

I am open if someone has a suggestion.
+7 # DaveEwoldt 2016-09-17 23:38
Have you tried Glen Ford's Black Agenda Report?
+1 # Greg Scott 2016-09-18 20:33
Thanks...I will give it a look.
+15 # carytucker 2016-09-17 15:41
Quoting reiverpacific:
Quoting PeacefulGarden:
The BBC is too fluffy.

So tell me where else, except perhaps "The Guardian" and "Al Jazeera", you'll get balanced, well-wrtten and in-depth news from all over the world.

The CBC. Good world and North American coverage with intelligent commentary, and without Oxbridge-speak.
+25 # DaveEwoldt 2016-09-17 16:21
The Guardian is good on the environment, but they're neoliberal on the economy and labor. Their anti-Corbyn and anti-Sanders coverage was on par with the NYT.
+4 # bardphile 2016-09-17 16:53
Nowhere. We should be listening to "them" as much or more than to "us" anyway, even if "they" aren't reciprocating.
+8 # fletch1165 2016-09-17 19:26
Here at Reader Supported News of course. Truthout is also good, but not quite as cutting edge. Oh you meant mainstream corporate? I'm not so high on Al Jazeera personally. Billionaires run that one too is my understanding. It is nice to get a slightly different perspective at least. RT gives you that too.
+1 # RLF 2016-09-19 05:59
The "balanced" is very questionable.
+14 # wrknight 2016-09-17 13:55
Quoting zepp:
Mr. Tiabbi is blaming the American people for making the media stupid? So it isn't the media making people stupid, it's people making the media stupid.
That logic seems a bit...rotational...
Not quite. It's the people making the media keep the people ignorant. The implication is that stupid people cause the media to keep them ignorant by buying and drinking their Kool-Aid.
+5 # sus453 2016-09-17 15:38
Drinking Kool-Aid . . . or is it Gatorade? Idiocracy.
+4 # wrknight 2016-09-17 18:11
It's the same stuff they laced in Jonestown.
+16 # fletch1165 2016-09-17 19:33
And in education. Who buys textbooks for our kids from Texas that omit important figures like labor leaders and civil rights activists? Why does the Brooking's Institute and others just like them pay a professor's way all the way through and then have them placed at a University with essentially automatic tenure???? There are plenty more institutions than just media responsible for transforming our society into the 4th Reich. Plenty... This is a concert of every American institution. Patriot Act I and II are just major opuses in their master agenda. They are too busy killing to enrich the 1% to have it otherwise. The job of their press is to keep the public's noses out of their openly nefarious business.

Which third world country will be targeted next for mass murder and profit is the question you should truly be asking. And why do all of us Americans have so much blood on our hands for the benefit of a measly 1% who clearly have zero moral values and only are concerned with bottom lines and short term profits?
+34 # 2016-09-17 14:02
The system is set up to sell ads, not for journalism. It caters to mass audiences to sell ads. Eyeballs are what they are generating, not quality reporting.

Journalism cannot be independent if it isn't independent.
+23 # 2016-09-17 14:08
I dealt with this years ago with a he-said she-said public controversy. The reporter turned to me and said, "So, what should I have printed?"

The truth? says I...
+9 # economagic 2016-09-17 15:58
And of course he couldn't afford to do that, as he would have lost his job even if the organization didn't lose a sponsor, because of the business model.
+18 # fletch1165 2016-09-17 19:38
Pappa. More people donated to Bernie than any other candidate in the history of the World. We proved profit can be made from telling the truth and getting behind Bernie. Did it matter to the paid for press? NO. Advertising and ratings are secondary to their PRIMARY agenda. To enrich their corporate masters who own them. Its a fiduciary relationship, like a corporation to its stock holders and the CEOS. That is exactly what the truth is to our precious media shills.
+8 # 2016-09-18 03:26
But Bernie, he no win.

The corporate media refused to cover him and the masses were uneducated and misdirected.

We again get the lesser of two evils.

+6 # elizabethblock 2016-09-18 15:28
The CBC yesterday, reporting Trump's admission that Obama was born in the USA, said that he made two entirely false statements.
I was delighted that at least one media outlet called him on his lies. But I wish I believed that being unable, or unwilling, or both, to distinguish between truth and falsehood was a disqualificatio n for being elected president.
+6 # ReconFire 2016-09-17 12:10
I agree with you on you're last paragraph, but the question is why. I'm sure there are many reasons, could one be that the corporate owners of our media outlets have promoted that there are two basic ideas about how the media is supposed to work?
As most know you're first way, a free press, is the right way.
You're second, a controlled media, is born and supported by a secrete govt. It's their bull$hit that the public "can't handle the truth", and allow them to hide from the public what they want. To blame this on the public is disingenuous at best, I expected better from a reporter of you're caliber.
+19 # wrknight 2016-09-17 13:41
Quoting ReconFire:
...To blame this on the public is disingenuous at best,...
Not really. Corporate power is derived from the money that people hand over when purchasing their products. You want to put an end to corporate power? Quit buying their shit!
+9 # fletch1165 2016-09-17 19:44
wrknight, that's what we did to South Africa. And also now with the BDS list. Scotland, an entire country, has joined the BDS campaign. One of their soccer teams raised 100,000 pounds for Palestinian relief. YOu are definitely on to something. I have my own personal BDS list of course, and it relates to a far expanded list than the official one. Everyone should start similar lists as you suggest. If the company acts improperly, never buy from them until they make up for it and change their ways. BOYCOTT DIVEST SANCTION. We can and will do it. We make impact every day we chose this course, and its all they understand, the loss of profits.

And meanwhile INVEST as well in groups like RSN and well researched non-profits we know do the right thing. And individuals like Bernie and the person running for mayor in your local community who stands for all of this.

Once they produce themselves, grab on to those people and stick to them like glue. They are our hope. They are our children's future.
-3 # Helen Marshall 2016-09-17 14:49
You might want to check the spelling of the adjective that means "belonging to you." Hint - it isn't "you're."
+4 # economagic 2016-09-17 15:59
And amazingly, these are often the same people whose point is unclear and incoherent.
+2 # ReconFire 2016-09-17 23:38
MS. Marshall, this is all you have to add to my comment, that I misspelled a/an adjective?? I'm neither a english major or a typist, if you understood my comment I'd let it go, we have a lot more important issues to deal with in this country than this.
-1 # engelbach 2016-09-18 04:21
I would think you might take the correction a little more gracefully.

It'll make your communication clearer.

I don't think using the correct word is going to distract us from trying to solve the world's problems.
+18 # wrknight 2016-09-17 13:27
BINGO! Thanks, Matt.

Sellers will sell whatever buyers will buy. If the public wants to be amused instead of being informed, then the media will bust their asses to amuse them.

And did they ever!
+14 # wrknight 2016-09-17 13:34
And we have the elected officials (and candidates) who were elected by those who bothered to vote.
+26 # REDPILLED 2016-09-17 13:40
And so the media, with few exceptions, have ceased being the "4th Estate" and are now an appendage of the National Security Warfare State.
+5 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2016-09-17 19:08
And so the media, with few exceptions, have ceased being the "4th Estate" and are now an appendage of the National Security Warfare State.
You give them too much credit. They are just suck ups who want to make more money and have more job security than the next guy. Matt isn't saying the media have no responsibility in all this. He's saying that we sheeple have been asking for shitty reporting for decades and now that we're getting it in spades, we have no right to claim that all along what we really wanted was the truth. Think of the NYT's long descent into Pablum as a bellwether of the state of US journalistic integrity, not the cause.
+6 # Dion Giles 2016-09-17 20:08
Rupert Murdoch's media empire is directed more to selling an ideology than merely to makng money. The empire is directed to an entire numerically poor and asset rich class making money.
+10 # PeacefulGarden 2016-09-17 13:43
Well, after watching South Park with my daughter, how on earth do you balance a choice between voting for a douche bag or a turd sandwich?

And, completely laughable, poetic indeed, Hillary is the turd sandwich in the South Park latest episode. Now that is balance!
-6 # MidwestDick 2016-09-17 14:46
Quoting PeacefulGarden:
how on earth do you balance a choice between voting for a douche bag or a turd sandwich?

If you have a lot of money you vote the sandwich " The more bread you have, the less shit you have to eat"
If you're a filthy c???, go for the douche bag.
That's democracy.
+52 # librarian1984 2016-09-17 13:52
It wasn't the viewers who decided to consolidate media and shift the news divisions into the infotainment, profit-seeking divisions. It wasn't consumers who kept laying off real journalists and getting newspapers to fold. Corporate owners and profit chasers have done their part as well.

I'll sit around and talk about how stupid Americans are with gusto, but there are forces at work much higher up than our pay grades. Some are satisfied with the state of journalism but the rest of us often turn to non-US sources for news anymore. The appetite is there, but where is the news?
+12 # sus453 2016-09-17 15:40
Yes, and if Americans are stupid, how did we get that way?
+11 # guomashi 2016-09-17 17:37
That's a really good question, and it has next to nothing to do with the media.
It has to do with a poor educational system combined with a geographical isolation that allows us to be taught and believe virtually anything about ourselves and the world due to lack of input from outside the system.
+17 # Radscal 2016-09-17 16:37
Thank you, librarian. This blaming the victims is never appropriate.

I'd add that many viewers work long hours, and then struggle to spend time with their families and maintain their planned-obsoles cence material goods.

So they don't have the time required to find and read/watch real journalism, and often simply do want to relax and be entertained.

I think that's part of the reason why European news is often far superior to ours. Europeans work less hours, have shorter commutes and more days off, so they have more time to think.
+10 # wrknight 2016-09-17 18:18
Quoting Radscal:
Thank you, librarian. This blaming the victims is never appropriate.

I'd add that many viewers work long hours, and then struggle to spend time with their families and maintain their planned-obsolescence material goods.

So they don't have the time required to find and read/watch real journalism, and often simply do want to relax and be entertained. ...

That's the situation now. There was a time when the 40 hour work week provided a reasonable income for families. But the current situation started a long time ago when voters chose Ronald Reagan and his voodoo economics with deregulation, tax cuts for the rich, humongous increases in defense spending, free trade and restrictions on organized labor. It was the voters that elected Reagan, not the media or the corporations (neither of which can vote).

The voters had a choice: Carter or Reagan. And they chose Reagan. Do you think Carter would have done all the damage Reagan did? I don't.

And then the voters elected daddy Bush, and then Clinton and then baby Bush and then Obama all of whom have helped exacerbate the problem.

And now they will probably elect Queen Hillary when they could have chosen Bernie.

Voters still have a good choice, Jill Stein. But do think they will elect her?

You want to see the voters as victims, but I see them as guilty. In a democracy, the buck stops with the voters.
+11 # wrknight 2016-09-17 18:39
Ronald Reagan was an itinerant movie star with a glib albeit forked tongue. And voters guzzled down his "trickle down economics" laced Kool-Aid just as Jim Jones' disciples did with his cyanide laced Kool-Aid.

The cyanide laced Kool-Aid might have been more humane.
+10 # Radscal 2016-09-17 20:00
As you may know, the deregulation (and union busting) virus began under Carter.

He's been the most fantastic former-Presiden t of my lifetime, but while he was in office, his foreign policy was essentially completely the work of his Svengali, Zbignew Brzezinski. The horrors in Indonesia and the creation of the Mujahideen of Afghanistan were their doing. I could go on.

So frankly, I don't know how much better Carter would have been in a second term. Maybe he would have "seen the light" which he apparently did after leaving office. But, being a creation of the Trilateral Commission and Council on Foreign Relations, I'm not so confident as you.

You may also recall that before the election, Reagan's people treasonously negotiated with Ayatollah Khomeini to hold onto the "hostages" to persuade voters to reject Carter's reelection. Polls showed he likely would have won had Reagan's people not committed that act of treason.

That's how the Islamic Extremists hijacked the Revolution, and was the origin of the Iran/Contra weapons and cocaine crime ring.

Besides, my point that we are all victims of propaganda was relevant in 1980 also. That was 5 years after the House uncovered CIA's "Project Mockingbird" proving that TV and radio, newspapers and magazines and even the news services, UPI and AP had been propaganda arms for decades already.
+4 # wrknight 2016-09-17 21:01
Very true, we are all victims of propaganda. But the truth is out there, and finding it is not impossible, it just takes a lot of work. Fortunately, there are still a few people who do that for us.

MSM is not the only game in town. You, Radscal, are looking at one alternative to MSM.

PS Are you contributing to RSN?
+2 # Radscal 2016-09-17 23:13
I won't go for or excuse victim-shaming.

Yeah, I've been a subscriber of RSN for years.
0 # wrknight 2016-09-19 17:28
You are a good man Radscal, even if you confuse the victims with the perps.
0 # Radscal 2016-09-20 15:19
Manipulation of the victims to act as perps is the point.
+6 # wrknight 2016-09-17 21:09
As for Reagan vs. Carter, we'll never know. But I still think Carter would have done a lot less damage than Reagan.
+6 # Radscal 2016-09-17 20:03
Please check out this short examination of TV/corporate media propaganda, just going back to Iraq War I in 1991 (people seem to have forgotten the lies that got public support for our first invasion of Iraq):
+8 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2016-09-17 19:13
Quoting librarian1984:
It wasn't the viewers who decided to consolidate media and shift the news divisions into the infotainment, profit-seeking divisions.
True - but we voted for the whores who made all that possible, who passed laws to render anti-trust laws impotent. That was We the People who did that, and are still doing it (witness Trump's surging popularity).
+7 # librarian1984 2016-09-17 19:59
I agree the public is not blameless, but TPTB have used every strategy that's legal and not to make the system more to their liking.

The schools have been decimated and history and civics removed from the curriculum so that the citizens aren't well informed.

The media has been infotained so we are kept in the dark.

We are kept broke, afraid and ignorant. Some of it is our own fault. But more of it is a systematic dumbing down of the population.

And yes, our voting is not a beautiful thing, but look at the candidates we are given. Districts are gerrymandered and votes are stolen.

This would be a very different country if the elections were true and money was not in politics.
+21 # Anonymot 2016-09-17 13:53
It is certain that the public has been constantly dumbing down since the educational system itself initiated the process 50 years ago. Then the Tube accelerated it. The computer kicked it into high gear with apps for idiotization like facebook and games, and worst of all, Twitterthink.

The various elements and forms of the media, print and online, followed along and accented the dumbing down by dumbing down themselves and taking their readers/followe rs for the sheep they had all become. It has become:
The Media is my shepherd, I shall not want real news.

Except "news" was once clear and honest both with its jounalism and its biases: the St Louis Post Dispatch was left and Democrat, the Chicago Tribune was right and Republican. The NY Times was center left, but critical of everybody.

The greatest disappointment is the NYT. Over the last few years they became an instrument of propaganda with the veneer of news. They have both subtley and blatantly taken on the promotion of a few causes. The latest is Hillary. Even when they throw in a few articles of sops they can't hide their biases.

Since they are read nationwide they're taken by the public for the ghost of their former self. That's what helped kill Sanders candidacy and sanitizing the Clintons.

The problem with Hillary is not that Trump is not awful, but that we expect something more honest, more democratic, more competent from a Democrat. What we get from the media is just as dishonest as the candidate.
+22 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2016-09-17 14:03
Taibbi's logic is out to lunch on this one.

He cites Juan Carlos Frey's struggles to get his mass graves story published as evidence of the media's ubiquitous lack of balance about which no one dutifully screams - so they have no right to complain. WTF? Frey's report was not an example of FALSE EQUIVALENCY AND LACK OF FACT CHECKING, it's an example of a lack of coverage. How can readers complain about under-served stories of which they have not been made aware?

To ask the news media to determine what is a fact and what isn't is not whining about false balance, it's demanding that the media do their jobs. "News" that doesn't distinguish fact from fiction isn't news, it's propaganda, and it is dangerous to a democracy.

As profound evidence of this cavalier indifference to truth consider Fox's Chris Wallace's assertion that “It's Not My Role” to call candidates on untruths when he moderates the upcoming presidential debate.
+25 # 2016-09-17 14:05

True but associated with the core problem:

the same money funds the media that funds our bought-and-paid -for politicians.
+13 # Lolanne 2016-09-17 14:29
Quoting pappajohn15:

True but associated with the core problem:

the same money funds the media that funds our bought-and-paid-for politicians.

Totally agree, both with you and with the Reductio... comment you were responding to. The media is bought and paid for, just like every other aspect of US gov't now. Sad, but a fact. Corporations now control pretty much every aspect of our lives. There is no real investigative journalism any more because the corporate owners don't want it. They pick their candidates and mass media has to jump on board. I've always admired Taibbi's work and I am surprised at this piece. Really take issue with his comment "Even the people who wish he didn't exist can't take their eyes off him." WRONG, Matt. I felt at the beginning that if the media would simply ignore him he'd just fade away. Personally, I wish the earth would open up and swallow him. I do not watch videos of or about him or read articles about him, and I mute my TV when his lying ads come on. And most everybody I know feels the same. So don't blame us, Matt - put the responsibility for this American tragedy squarely where it belongs: on the corporate world's shoulders.
+18 # 2016-09-17 14:33
Fascism = Corporatism.

"We have met the enemy, and he is us."

-Walt Kelly, Pogo
+10 # DaveEwoldt 2016-09-17 16:31
Quoting Lolanne:
I do not watch videos of or about him or read articles about him, and I mute my TV when his lying ads come on. And most everybody I know feels the same.

Exactly. Every time I see an article with the character string "Trump" in it I just delete it.
+8 # seeuingoa 2016-09-17 14:09
How come that every time I zoom in on the American election I feel so
+3 # wrknight 2016-09-17 21:23
Whether you are as intelligent as you feel will depend on how you vote.
+29 # grandlakeguy 2016-09-17 14:13
The tragic false balance here is that the NY Times and the rest of the media constantly ignored, then dumped on, Bernie Sanders to do their part in inflicting Hillary Clinton on the world instead of a true progressive who actually wanted to help people rather than the corporate bosses who own Clinton.

The media then largely ignored the fraud and corruption (not to mention the outright theft) of the primary election which ended in the illegitimate nomination of Clinton!

What has happened is unforgivable!
+7 # wrknight 2016-09-17 21:28
You are absolutely right. But did anyone cancel their subscription to the Times?

If people continue giving the NYT money, do you really think that the NYT will stop doing what it's doing?

PS Yes, I did cancel my subscription.
+6 # BlueMorpho 2016-09-18 09:16
So did I and quite a number of other people.
+1 # CelticNavigator 2016-09-18 16:02
@Flutterby - Some dragon-slaying inspiration 4U from my CN profile here. My fav Zep tune, by far:

The Queen of Light took her bow
And then she turned to go,
The Prince of Peace embraced the gloom
And walked the night alone.
Oh, dance in the dark of night,
Sing to the morning light.
The dark Lord rides in force tonight
And time will tell us all.
Oh, throw down your plow and hoe,
Rest not to lock your homes.
Side by side we wait the might
Of the darkest of them all.
I hear the horses' thunder
Down in the valley blow,
I'm waiting for the angels of Avalon,
Waiting for the eastern glow.
The apples of the valley hold,
The seas of happiness,
The ground is rich from tender care,
Repay, do not forget, no, no.
Oh, dance in the dark of night,
Sing to the morning light.
The apples turn to brown and black, the tyrant's face is red.
Oh, 'war' is the common cry, pick up your swords and fly.
The sky is filled with good and bad
That mortals never know.
Oh, well, the night is long, the beads of time pass slow,
Tired eyes on the sunrise, waiting for the eastern glow.
+1 # CelticNavigator 2016-09-18 16:36
The pain of war cannot exceed
The woe of aftermath,
The drums will shake the castle wall,
The ring wraiths ride in black, ride on.
Sing as you raise your bow,
Shoot straighter than before.
No comfort has the fire at night
That lights the face so cold.
Oh dance in the dark of night,
Sing to the mornin' light.
The magic runes are writ in gold
To bring the balance back, bring it back.
At last the sun is shining, the clouds of blue roll by,
With flames from the dragon of darkness
The sunlight blinds his eyes.
-1 # BlueMorpho 2016-09-18 21:14
I've just returned from listening to it on youtube. I like it. I love the lyrics. Am I off base or do I sense tension in some of the lyrics? I wasn't thinking of Prince of Peace vs the dark lord, but the P. of P.and the angels of Avalon. I'd love to experience the festival at Glastonbury. Just once.

The Queen of Light took her bow...

Nah, I don't like this. I friggin' love it. Thank you for sharing it.

That is inspirational. Sure beats the sh!t out of all of the crazy stuff that's happening now. Btw, I added one teeny word to the bottom of my profile: spiciness.
0 # Radscal 2016-09-20 15:23
I cancelled by subscription to the NYT in 2003. Even before then, I knew they presented a biased view and often straight-up propaganda, but I still read them as a source for basic information.

But after their deafening, duplicitous pounding of the war drums, I wrote them to explain why I would not be giving them any more of my money.
+13 # ikhadduri 2016-09-17 14:22
Mindful of the above 'American' news channels comments, I would strongly submit that, currently, Russia Today or RT, in English, Arabic, etc.. news, documentaries and videos are the BEST news media out there.
+14 # MidwestDick 2016-09-17 14:50
You fail to mention good old RSN.
Send in a check everybody.
+10 # grandlakeguy 2016-09-17 16:42
Better yet, put RSN on a monthly auto-pay with your credit card.

If everyone reading this set up a measly $1
monthly donation they would not have to constantly beg and plead for donations!
+5 # countmarc 2016-09-17 18:33
RSN and Free Speech TV have a different angle and are so not corporate, which is good if you let yourself be exposed to the infotainment networks. I limit my exposure to Daily Show. I have made up my mind about how to deal with this election and since that's all getting broadcast I pass.
+12 # f f skitty1947 2016-09-17 14:53
pacifica is the only media outlet i trust.

nothing else even comes close.

naturally, being listener-sponso red, pacifica is constantly threatened with extinction.
+7 # MidwestDick 2016-09-17 14:59
The best
If you haven't checked it out, do!
And send them a few bucks.
+4 # economagic 2016-09-17 16:07
Hmmm, like at least one other outlet we could name. Brilliant deduction as usual, Mr Skitty.
+3 # Anonymot 2016-09-18 03:31
I just came across a startling, excellent news source:
Try it. It's quite amazing.
+13 # MendoChuck 2016-09-17 14:32
A perfect example of media being entertaining rather than informative.

Go out and shoot a bunch of people and every bit of available media is there covering the story. Not one time but for at least two weeks from every angle they can dig up or make up.

Go out and help some old folks that can't drive get to the store and shop for groceries and no one is there to cover the story.

This is an extreme example, I admit but the truth normally is.
+8 # jwb110 2016-09-17 14:39
The NY Times is a rag!!!
+9 # Radscal 2016-09-17 14:57
Do media give the public what we want, or do we want what the media give us?

We are all victims of a propaganda/PR machine so effective and so powerful that it shapes our perceptions, values and emotions in ways of which we are seldom consciously aware. And this social-engineer ing machine is in our schools and houses of worship, too.

It has taken the better part of a century to "breed" the public into the reactive "consumers" we've largely become.

And I try never to blame victims for the effects of their victimhood.

But here's what I saw. I saw the media (especially CNN and MSDNC) provide scores of hours of uninterrupted, free coverage of Drumpf events for more than a year. From the moment those networks cut into regular programming to broadcast Drumpf's escalator ride into history, the media transformed the Realty TV Show Star into our first 100% Reality TV Show Presidential Candidate.

Even HRC didn't earn that. Her campaign-openin g event, ironically held at the Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island, was brilliantly staged, and received coverage throughout the media, but not "Breaking News" non-stop broadcasting.

Bernie Sanders' announcement was barely mentioned and ridiculed from the start, setting the stage for the rest of the coverage of his historic campaign.

Whatever was the plan of the elite who control this machine, we're ending up with a distinct possibility we'll have a President Drumpf.
+6 # sus453 2016-09-17 16:20
I have a feeling that, as far as Trump goes, the televised media didn't think about its implications, but decided to go along for the publicity ride for all it was worth (entertainment, ratings, and advertising money). If we get a war-monger like Hillary or a fascist like Trump, I don't think they care in the least - as long as they can make money off it.
+5 # Radscal 2016-09-17 20:14
Les Moonves of CBS famously bragged about how good was Drumpf for them, but I specified CNN and MSDNC which broadcast scores of hours of UNINTERRUPTED coverage.

That is, no advertising was sold.

As our own Loren Bliss frequently notes, we have the most amazing propaganda/PR machine. Not only does it shape our thoughts and emotions, but we actually pay for it!

But remember that when CBS was owned by Westinghouse, and when NBC was owned by General Electric, neither of those "media giants" generated even 5% of their parent companies' revenues.

Almost all of their profits come from military contracts and consumer products. Think about that. If you owned Westinghouse or GE, what would you consider to be the principle purpose of your little media outlets?

Yes, it's amazing that peddling propaganda has actually become profitable in its own right. But there's a reason why the Pentagon and CIA fund Hollywood, and always have.
+7 # DaveEwoldt 2016-09-17 16:35
Quoting Radscal:
Do media give the public what we want, or do we want what the media give us?

It seems to me that the media is giving us what _they_ want--or perhaps more accurately, what we're allowed to have.

And you're correct, you can't blame the victims.
+4 # Radscal 2016-09-17 20:18
Yes, and thank you.

After a century of time and $ billions of dollars for scientific studies on things like brain chemistry and MRI imaging, psychology and sociology, the media industry knows very well how to manipulate human psyches.

They know how to make us desire something (or hate something), whether that be a fast food item or a war. Selling us elections is easy peasy.
0 # wrknight 2016-09-17 21:41
What you say is very true, Radscal. But YOU DON'T HAVE TO BUY IT! No one is putting a gun to your head and demanding that you pay them.

Without subscribers, advertisers will not advertise and NYT WILL DIE. The same goes for all the other MSM rags.

As for TV, advertising depends on Neilson ratings that are based on viewers. No viewers and the Neilson ratings go in the tank - and there go the advertisers.

Keep reading and watching MSM and you WILL keep getting the same old shit.

God, when will people learn? They continue to pay for, read and watch MSM and complain about the quality. They keep re-electing the same whores to public office and complain about government.

You don't remember the definition of insanity? It's doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
-1 # Radscal 2016-09-18 18:02
I choose to assume that your use of "you" is meant in the royal, collective connotation, and not as an instruction to me personally.

Elsewise, I recommend you get to know someone a bit more before proscribing behavior changes for her or him.
+1 # wrknight 2016-09-19 17:30
Yes, the royal, collective you, meaning anyone who buys that shit.
0 # Radscal 2016-09-19 21:13
Thanks. Yeah, it's hard to get the propagandized public, overstressed as they are, to seek out alternative media.

I do my best to inform people and point them in directions where they can learn the truth.
+16 # tedrey 2016-09-17 15:00
Everything shouldn't be about Hillary and Donald. Perhaps we should look at whether some other news presentations are or are not balanced.

Government statements vs. independent reportage?

Commercial mass media vs. non-profit media?

American news media vs. foreign news media?

In each case the former category pretty effectively keeps the latter from the public eye and mind. As RSN readers well know, vital opinions and verifiable news, which the mass media's editors cannot help but be aware of, are assiduously never mentioned in the NYT, etc.

In this country, far from attaining balance, most of the potentially available facts, issues, and happenings are kept off the table and out of the public mind entirely.

To believe that fixating on two of the least desirable candidates in recent history is as important as revealing and changing the system which makes them the only choices to run the country ... that indeed is a "false equivalency."
+5 # Radscal 2016-09-17 15:45
Brilliantly considered and constructed, ted.
+4 # tedrey 2016-09-17 21:09
Thanks, Radscal. But you know the NYT won't take it.
+2 # Radscal 2016-09-18 18:03
Quite true. And always has been.
-2 # Bic Parker 2016-09-17 15:01
"I'm as worried as anyone else about the possibility of Trump getting elected. But if it happens,.... It'll be because we're a nation of idiots, who vote without thinking."

And that includes anyone that aids a Trump win by not voting, or by voting for either 3rd party candidate.

+14 # Radscal 2016-09-17 15:53
When I "THINK" of a President Clinton II, I think of the beautiful families of my loved ones in Iran. I think about the beautiful country in which they live, and how it's most ancient heritage has been largely forgotten by those who can only see the results of more than a century of Western meddling and an ill-informed threat to the Jewish State of Israel in the Levant.

But mostly, I think of all those beautiful young children, and their mothers, and HRC's consistent calls to "obliterate" them, as she enabled in Libya and Syria, and to a lesser but still horrifying degree in Honduras and Ukraine.

I dread a President Drumpf. Republicans would likely cut the tattered shreds of our FDR legacy, resulting in my own poverty and likely death in short order.

But I cannot have the blood of those innocent, lovely people on my hands. My life is not worth more than theirs.
+2 # Doc Mary 2016-09-17 20:50
What on earth makes you think that Trump will resist playing with all that power at his disposal? Have you ever seen him in his payback mode? Example - Hillary won a small victory yesterday when he admitted, sullenly, that Obama was a citizen and therefore his presidency was valid. Then last night that payback mode clicked on, and he suggested that Clinton's secret service go unarmed (because she wants to take away all your guns and get rid of the 2nd Amendment, also not true) (unfortunately) - "let's see what happens to her." "Want to do that?" "yeah, let's just see what happens to her."

When small Iranian boats came close to a huge American navy ship, and (according to Trump) their occupants gesticulated rudely, he said he'd have "blown them out of the water."

What on this earth makes you think that man will not act on his vindictive and punitive impulses when he has the chance?
+4 # Radscal 2016-09-18 01:59
I have no reason to believe or disbelieve what a President Drumpf would do. No one does.

I do have decades of public record of what HRC has done, and promises to do.

I have little hope for our country and planet if either one of them becomes the most powerful person in the world.

That's why I'm voting for Dr. Jill Stein.
+2 # wrknight 2016-09-19 17:40
The only thing in Trump's favor is his lack of qualifications and incompetence. There's only one thing more dangerous than an incompetent sociopath and that's a competent sociopath.
+5 # sus453 2016-09-17 16:26
A nation of idiots? Or perhaps a completely wooden and (deservedly) distrusted Democratic candidate with tons of excess baggage. If Hillary loses, it won't be because I and some other people vote for Jill Stein, it will be because the Democratic Party pushed a bad candidate (and when a good one was right there all along). It was the same with Gore and Kerry; they were awful candidates - stiff, doctrinaire, and unlikeable.
0 # jamiemcg 2016-09-17 19:29
Do you not see the irony here that you are complaining about candidates who are not likable? Wasn't a large part of Bush the Lesser's campaign based on the idea that, yes, he wasn't very smart, but you could have a good time having a beer with him?
0 # wrknight 2016-09-19 17:41
Yes, a nation of idiots. He got it right the first time.
+5 # DaveEwoldt 2016-09-17 16:39
You might want to follow your own advice, Bic. Why on Earth would you want more of what has brought us to our state of rapidly converging global crises?
+16 # PaineRad 2016-09-17 15:20
Sorry Matt, but other than a half dozen journalists almost never seen on television or heard on the radio, the vast majority of "reporters" are nothing more than stenographers. Why is that?

My conclusion is that it is the case because:

1. BIG MONEY owns corporate media and finds that useful

2. corporate interests and BIG MONEY own much of our federal, state & local govts.

3. intimidation by right-wing zealots and their puppets has further brought the media to heel

4. politicians on the take install shills into positions of "oversight" and who skew content

5. reporters get the message from on high

6. reporters want to keep their jobs

7. reporters want to move higher up the ladder

8. viewers don't know any better because most have never experienced any better

9. viewers, thanks to the right-wing assault on public education and critical thinking, have been denied a proper education for decades
0 # davehaze 2016-09-17 15:25
If Trump gets elected a tiny part of it will be Tiabi's fault. He had more fun writing about Trump then helping to expose Bernie Sanders to the General Public. If I recall he wrote one article about Sanders against the many about Trump.

I have said it before this election was not about Trump but about stopping Bernie Sanders and his supporters so that Hillary would be selected. And Sanders and his supporters were stopped by not being reported.
-1 # Bic Parker 2016-09-17 15:29
That is the past. Let's deal with the present-and future!

Bernie says vote for Hillary to beat Trump!
+6 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2016-09-17 19:29
Quoting Bic Parker:
That is the past. Let's deal with the present-and future!
Past is prologue and those who forget or ignore it are doomed to repeat it. We have tried in good faith to choose the lesser evil but somehow it seems that the lesser evil always chooses to be more evil than it been before. Enough is enough.
0 # wrknight 2016-09-19 17:44
And I say to hell with that. I WON'T vote for someone I don't want as president regardless of alternatives.

Not only NO, but HELL NO!
+6 # Radscal 2016-09-17 16:00
Yes, the corporate media did their very best to deny Sanders the Democratic nomination.

But even still, the power of his message touched the already-growing movements that reject neoliberalism and neoconservativi sm, and seek to create a better country and a better world for the 99%.

And so, it required election fraud for HRC to take the nomination.

I've written my Congress Critters, asking them to "accept HRC's resignation" as a Drumpf win becomes ever-more possible, and to nominate Bernie. Please do the same if you agree that he'd be the best Democratic President in a long, long time.
+7 # guomashi 2016-09-17 17:42
I did this myself some time back, as well as giving everyone from the party a sound drubbing when confronted with whatever they choose to throw at me.

Reports that party leaders are considering options may mean this strategy is working. Everyone should do this who hopes for a better world.
+6 # Radscal 2016-09-17 20:23
I remember you stating that earlier. Didn't you even post your letter and offer it as a template?

I recommend sending another round. Since even the WaPo is admitting the DNC is looking into a "Plan B," this is the time to remind them that a HRC-clone like Uncle Joe Biden won't work either.
+4 # AJNorth 2016-09-17 15:51
So, how did we get to this place?

More than likely, a sizeable number of those who visit this site have never seen the 1976 film "Network," the scathingly brilliant black comedy by Paddy Chayefsky that, with remarkable prescience, foretold the demise of the independent broadcast networks as they became divisions of mega-corporatio ns -- and their news divisions indistinguishab le from (if not themselves now sub-divisions of) the entertainment divisions -- with predictable results that have in fact come to pass ( and and ).

For comprehensive coverage, one might investigate the Internet streams of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC); their various links and programming may be found at . For print media, many will find the U.S. edition of The Guardian worthwhile: .

Alas, it is increasingly likely that the only way in which younger (and future) Americans will ever see such iconic shining moments of the Fifth Estate as Edward R. Murrow and the Columbia Broadcasting System -- both now long gone -- standing up to one Senator Joseph R. McCarthy is to watch the film.
+9 # AJNorth 2016-09-17 15:51
Those so inclined might also wish to look into the history of broadcasting, going back to the original Communications Act of 1934 [yes, that would be pre-television] that stated that licenses to broadcast [over the public's airways] would be granted to do so, "in the public interest" -- and something once known as the "Fairness Doctrine," that a certain president amusingly known as "The Great Communicator" got rid of. See and .
+7 # Radscal 2016-09-17 16:12
And then the Telecommunicati ons Act pushed by President Clinton I tore down the relevant anti-trust laws, and opened the floodgates to media monopolization.

Reagan gets most of the "credit," but our Deregulator in Chief was definitely Bill Clinton.
+8 # PaineRad 2016-09-17 15:51
Matt, speaking of non-coverage, where is Rolling Stone on the largest prison strike in US history?
+6 # Radscal 2016-09-17 16:21
And the goings-on in Syria.

Yesterday, US troops crossed from Turkey, leading a military assault planned for Aleppo, and were turned back by mobs of our Free Syrian Army "allies" who threatened the "Crusaders" with death.

And then today, US "Coalition" F-16s and A-10s bombed Syrian Army positions in the East of Syria, near the Iraqi border, killing at least 60 Syrian Army personnel, and wounding over a hundred.

ISIL immediately began an offensive on the weakened and disoriented Syrian Army.

"Cease-Fire" my ass! The US is pressing their "regime change" from both sides in a classic "pincher" move. This is why the US refuses to make the terms of the Cease-Fire signed with Russia public.

The real story is sort of buried in these articles from the once-Liberal The Guardian, but it's in there.
-3 # Jaax88 2016-09-17 16:03
I wonder why Russia Today-English which is much propaganda for Russia is the so-called best news media of the day? Perhaps Ikhadduri you will explain.
+6 # sus453 2016-09-17 16:29
Perhaps because they report the news that the mainstream US media consistently ignores, and the reporting is usually accurate.
+4 # DaveEwoldt 2016-09-17 16:44
Just the fact that you have to wonder about it is a good example of the problem.
0 # rradiof 2016-09-17 16:15
Goodbye, Matt. You had a good run, but it's over.
+4 # NonnyO 2016-09-17 16:18
TRUTH does not have "sides." It just is. All the rest is just OPINIONS about TRUTH.

All media outlets really only need to tell us is the bare-bones facts of events. We can figure the rest out for ourselves.

Half the "problem" with Mendacious Moronic Media is that they feel the need to "explain" things to us with a corporate slant to their opinions. We are not all cretins with low IQs (like so many legislators seem to be).

I get "news" online, but I never click on stories about Trump. I never did figure out what comics and "news" outlets saw about him that was important enough to mention. I loved Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert..., EXCEPT when they talked about Trump. Trump was never funny or worthy of mention, IMHO.

I permanently turned off my TV a few years ago because of too much sports (they have cable channels for that; why put it on free TV channels?), too many stupid commercials, and too many dumbed-down programs (like reality shows and contests that get more voters than elections). I have never gotten cable because I don't see the logic of paying to get ads I could get for free with rabbit ears. Now the one web site I watched (Hulu) that had free viewing (with ads) has gone entirely commercial with two choices of web viewing, one with and one without ads. Some choice. I don't watch enough shows to justify the expense, so now I will watch nothing on TV or on web sites with current TV shows.
+3 # Radscal 2016-09-17 20:28
That "explaining" news stories to us is THE central purpose of corporate media "news."

The last thing the 0.01% want is an informed electorate.

Good on you for quitting TV. I watch more now than I ever have before, but I try to do so through the lens of critical thinking, informed by my understanding that it is manipulative propaganda.
+7 # Bryan 2016-09-17 17:52
The public is smarter than you Tabbi.

More than 75 % of Americans say the media is monkey shit and don't trust it.
And everyone except children watching cartoons complains about the low brow, low class, insipid,silly and stupid TV programing.

So evidently the public isnt stupid after all.
+4 # Radscal 2016-09-17 20:30
The most recent survey I saw showed that just 6% of USians trust the corporate media.

Of course, knowing they lie and manipulate us does not make us immune to their wily ways. But it's a start.
+1 # NAVYVET 2016-09-18 14:24
Of course the public knows that TV and talk radio are essentially worthless! It's the mal-informed and greedo CEOs who are at fault. I haven't watched a TV show in over 3 years (and that was for weather), turned off NPR because I'm sick of talking heads yakk-yakk, haven't watched TV news since the all-night worldwide Millennium special or listened to radio news since 1998, and never buy a newspaper.

I do listen to our unsponsored local radio station that plays classical music all day and excellent jazz at night or to avant-garde classical music online, and get my news from intelligent magazines like THE NATION and PROGRESSIVE and online noncommercial sites like this one. If people wrote more often to the channels/statio ns, and told them they are refusing to buy the products advertised on, for instance, a show featuring Ann Coulter or any Kardashian, we might not have Donald Drumpf polluting the airwaves and our politics! Can you imagine what the good folks of Proxima Centauri 3 must think of us?

Now is YOUR time to support RSN and keep it going! I'm retired and Marc Ash refers to people like me as "small donors." I've done what I can afford--a monthly deduction and an extra gift. If everyone were a small donor, he'd never need to plead.
+3 # 2016-09-17 18:03
If everyone who commented on this piece would just commit to a monthly donation to RSN, it would help support one outlet that works to provide balanced coverage. You get what you pay for, folks. Just sayin'.
+6 # 2016-09-17 18:49
I do!
0 # Dion Giles 2016-09-17 21:21
So do I, but I still received in my personal email inbox today an insulting unsigned message (you probably received one too) from Marc Ash's "do-not-reply" coward's castle stating that "you're with us but you don't assist us" or something to that effect, along with several other insulting daily unsigned "do-not-reply" lectures.
What about changing from these imperious Marc Ash monologues to a democratic open DIALOGUE with all of us together and solve the funding problem for once and for all? The monologues are getting nowhere.
0 # NAVYVET 2016-09-18 14:32
Not sure his website can do that. Probably can't.
+3 # kyzipster 2016-09-17 19:08
I see voter turnout as a more serious issue. According to one poll 80% who identify as left leaning said they will vote in November, 93% on the right. Conservatives have more passion about their cause. It's one of the reasons the Democrats surrendered to Reaganism in the 1990s. The last midterm brought the lowest turnout since the 1940s and Republicans made gains as usual. Millennials had the lowest turnout of all. The generation blaming my generation for the state of the country can't be bothered to vote. Maybe their kids can blame them for the Trump years.

I've heard all of the arguments defending this apathy, I don't buy any of it. Even if a person is uninspired and doesn't give a chit about the Tea Party steadily taking over state government because Killary is so evil, they should show up and write in Donald Duck, anything to make a statement.
+6 # Radscal 2016-09-17 20:36
I've volunteered on voter registration drives and "get out the vote" phone banks numerous times.

I found very little apathy from those who don't vote. Mostly, they know the duopoly doesn't represent them let alone serve them. They care a great deal about what's happening, but feel powerless. That could be termed cynicism (or realism), but I don't think it's apathy.

Younger people have always had the lowest voting rates. That could be apathy, or at least being unengaged. That was part of what was so amazing about the 74 year old Democratic Socialist from NY/Vermont. He engaged those would-be voters.
0 # kyzipster 2016-09-19 16:09
I say it's an excuse to not show up. 17% of millennials showed up to vote in the last midterm in my state, the differences are well known and now everyone is outraged by our new Tea Party governor, it was nothing but laziness. Polls showed his opponent winning easily but hardly anyone came out to vote.

Our last Democratic governor received national praise for embracing Obamacare, designing an online delivery system and expanding Medicaid to thousands, many in the poorest counties in Appalachia. The new governor has dismantled the system and is working at eliminating this Medicaid expansion as other red states have done.

It's bull chit to say there are no differences at all, it's uninformed to believe it imo. Elections are far more complicated than Trump/Clinton/S anders. State and local government can be drastically different, a person would have to be asleep to not know it. It's inexcusable for a progressive in a red state to stay home. Voting for Stein or Clinton is irrelevant. Revolution takes much more than getting worked up every 4 years for a presidential race, mostly whining about the establishment online.
+3 # engelbach 2016-09-18 04:29
Blaming the voters (and non-voters) is counter-productive.

It's up to the candidates to compel people to vote for them.

In 2012, after a disastrous first debate, Obama turned on the juice and destroyed Romney in the next one.

Clinton is drowsing her way through her campaign, with no idea how to fire up the undecideds.

Insulting voters was not the way to do it, regardless of which ones were her targets.
-3 # kyzipster 2016-09-19 16:29
Clinton is as boring as Gore was and we had Bush for 8 years. I get frustrated with the Dem establishment like any good progressive but I don't blame Gore for the poor choices of voters or the insanity of the opposition. Invading and occupying Iraq, historic tax cuts were insane imo, and a big difference between political parties. Gore would have made a much better president than Bush, even if he was boring and a symbol of the status quo. If Trump wins because Clinton isn't firing anyone up by making promises of free tuition that can't be kept, I will still blame voters.

I'm not bashing Sanders, I wish he had gotten the nomination, but he never explained how any of his agenda was possible with our Congress and our electorate, but it was exciting.

Meanwhile, boring Democrats have passed living wage laws easily on the West Coast and elsewhere, universal health care is on the ballot in Colorado in November.

A progressive movement is happening within the Democratic Party and outside of it, so much hopelessness and pessimism at RSN imo.
+5 # Doc Mary 2016-09-17 20:30
Yeah yeah yeah. We're talking about the New York Times. The old Gray Lady. The newspaper of record. Conservative, yes, but not a sucker for the type of divisive propaganda Trump pumps out.

Washington Post is kicking their butt. [Though that was a very nice piece about the Trump bankruptcies.]

This is not difficult. Start with Politifact. YOUR balance should be about equal to theirs - that is, the ratio of truth to lies for each candidate.

Clinton has a rating of 50% true or mostly true, 33% false or pants-on-fire.

Trump has a rating of 38% true or mostly true, 54% false or mostly false.

The ratio in your coverage should be about the same.

Your job is not and has never been to present the candidates equally. It is to present the EVIDENCE equally. That didn't used to sound so difficult.

If the New York Times can't do that any more, they should shut down and open back up with a different name.
+6 # pro54 2016-09-17 21:37
I used to like reading Taipei's articles as I thought him rational and ready to call it as he sees it. may be he still does call it as he sees it but in his recent two articles I've read, i did have cause to shake my head and it has all been with regards to H. Clinton. I one he called her the most liked or admired or respected (one of them) woman in the whole world as fact and then in this article blaming us for being force fed Trump, readying our harvest for foiegras come Novemnber. I have not watched MSNBC for more than a year since they insisted on force feeding me Trump and yet Taibbi has to tell me that they featured Trump because I wanted to see Trump.
-1 # lfeuille 2016-09-17 23:55
I think the press has done a pretty good job of exposing Trumps many faults. Everybody knows he is racist and bigoted in every other way. Also, he is narcissistic, hot headed and intellectually lazy and most of what he says is bullshit.

They have also done fairly well at exposing Hillary's lying and compulsive secrecy. When ever they cover her negatively the hillbots start complaining about false balance, as if they could ignore these incidents for the sake of beating Trump.

But she still comes out ahead. They do not cover her war mongering so the only people who know about it get it from the leftist press which doesn't have nearly the audience of the MSM. The false balance weighs in her favor.
0 # engelbach 2016-09-18 04:35
I don't think the press goes far enough in that direction.

The big problem is that even fair news that examines the evidence rather than just reporting the propaganda rarely goes deeply enough about the implications. It's not enough to expose Trump as a bully. It's necessary to explore what a Trump presidency would mean.

For example, regardless of the merits and imperfections of the candidates, the election's effect on the makeup of the Supreme Court will have far greater impact on the lives of the people than any flaws in the candidates' characters.

Remember, too, that most people read only their local paper and watch their local TV. They don't get a jolting dose of reality from those.
-2 # Robbee 2016-09-18 09:48
Quoting lfeuille:
Trump is narcissistic, hot headed and intellectually lazy and most of what he says is bullshit.

- rump meant what he said
and he said what he meant
"i am your leader!
one hundred percent!"
+2 # diamondmarge7 2016-09-18 07:06
We donated to Bernie, we voted for Bernie, we campaigned for Bernie, we attended rallies for Bernie BUT WE GOT BLOODTHIRSTY HILLRY BECAUSE THE ESTABLISHMENT DEMOCRATS RIGGED THE ELECTIONS.
I am praying that SOMEBODY will save this coming trainwreck but somehow someway getting Bernie to enter the race again.
I no lonber pay much attention to what I'
ve taken to labelling as the Propaganda Bullshit Network--KOCH in bright lettering as a major donor--puhleeze ! Also I keep a subscription to TNYT for general coverage but NEVAH fall for their slanted towards Shillery coverage.
Do go see "Snowden" and "Where to Invade Next" to put some much needed facts/informati on on your own plate.
+2 # diamondmarge7 2016-09-18 07:11
PS: Be sure to read "Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton" for a heads-up as to the WWIII she'll rush us into w/Russia or Godknowswho--sh e destroyed Libya, meddled into Honduras. The woman never met a war or war materiel she couldn't promote. And TrumP? a maniac, a sociopathic goon. How the hell do we bring back Bernie? Our republic is down the tubes for sure w/Obama shilling for the democracy=destr oying TPP. And honest to Pete, if I hear one more so-called Democrat tell me how Hillary LOVES women&children & has worked for them her whole life---aaargh.
BRING BACK BERNIE & while you're at it, support Russ Feingold for a repeat post in the Senate. Mebbe he'll be our First Jewish President? Love the guy's policy stances.
0 # PCPrincess 2016-09-18 09:48
As I have mentioned a few times before (for those RSN readers who have already read this I apologize for the repeat), I theorize that only approximately 10% - 20% of the citizenry in the U.S. has the requisite intelligence and empathy to understand the complexities of 'news', propaganda, the drive for profit, greed, and the ways it effects what we all see. The 10% - 20% are already looking elsewhere for accurate information and news (many of them are regulars here).

As for the other 80%, Matt is correct. They are a part of the problem as they are easily coerced, and continue to give profit to the for-profit entertainment that is now called 'news'. Let us not also forget that these percentages also apply within the industry itself. By that logic, only a small number of insiders actually can perceive of the danger of for-profit propagandizing.
+3 # Annette Saint John Lawrence 2016-09-18 14:04
I am an avid Bernie Supporter. He is the only authentic person that was running. I never vote for the lesser of two evils. However, with pain staking thought, what choice do we have. Voting for a third party candidate will very likely give us Trump. Not voting will do the same thing because this anger bottom of the barrel folks will be eager to get to the polls & vote for Trump stupidly thinking that he will fix all their anger. Hillary, is hard for me to swallow. Face it, it is not likely that the Dem. Party is going to take her out and replace her with Bernie. At least with her, the people have the opportunity to stay on her to keep her promises. At the very least she will listen & consider and when she sees that the sleeping are now awake and we are relentlessly on her, their is a likelihood she could change. In contrast, there is no chance in hell that Trump will listen to anyone. Even many influential republicans know this and are not supporting him for President. Bloomberg was the most articulate.
0 # OrlandoDFree 2016-09-19 17:41
I couldn't disagree with Matt Taibbi more. Balanced coverage isn't supposed to be about giving equal weight to truth and lies. Here's a good example. Taibbi is right that the Clinton Foundation raises all sorts of valid questions. But he stops at the questions, making it look like there's a serious problem here. Reporters who looked at the answers to those questions have found no influence peddling. It's a good example of the Clintons behaving honorably and honestly, which is being spun around as an example of corruption. I'm on the side of people denouncing false balance.

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