SHILLING and CHURNING–the State of the Media and the “Mass Production of Ignorance” (A Double Post by kenosha Marge and InsightAnalytical-GRL)

The two pieces in this post are intertwined. First, there is “American Media Shills for Obama” by kenosha Marge.  Then, check out “Flat Earth News–The State of ‘Churnalism'” by InsightAnalytical-GRL, an introduction to the acclaimed journalist Nick Davies and his courageous expose’ about the “news” business.

American Media Shills for Obama

~~By kenosha Marge

Has the time finally come when ordinary citizens stop listening to the drivel coming from the mouths of multi-millionaire pundits? Have we really gotten mad as hell and aren’t going to take it any more?

Going back as far as William Randolph Hearst it is easy to see that media moguls were always about money and power, not journalism. It was in fact Hurst’s engaging in a bitter circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer‘s New York World which led to the creation of “yellow journalism“–sensationalized stories of dubious veracity.

There was a time between Hearst and the Current Millionaire Media Morons that infest our newspapers and airwaves today when some actual journalism occurred.

Having been raised with the Huntley-Brinkley Report and Walter Cronkite what passes for journalism these days is wretched. Certainly Edward R. Murrow, must be spinning in his grave knowing that a hack like Keith Olbermann, is using his signature line, “Good Night and Good Luck”.

It is interesting that Murrow gave a speech before the Radio and Television News Directors Association in Chicago in which he blasted TV’s emphasis on entertainment and commercialism at the expense of public service. That was on October 15, 1958. I suspect he would be appalled to see how far down that road the media has traveled.

Today’s media gives us such stalwarts as Charlie Gibson of ABC who sneered his way through an interrogation disguised as an interview. Gibson tried to embarrass and demean Governor Sarah Palin. Instead he embarrassed himself and the occupation he represents so poorly. We really aren’t interested in whether you like Governor Palin or not Charlie, we just expect you, as a professional to conduct an interview that allows us to make our own decisions based on what WE perceive to be the truth. Your opinion Charlie is irrelevant.

This election cycle, like many before has shown us a media increasingly less interested in reporting the news than in making it. We expected that the Clinton-hating media would attack her relentlessly without regard for truth, fairness or integrity. We didn’t expect their blatant misogyny and their slobbering preference for Obama. There wasn’t even a pretense of fair coverage.

Now John McCain is being treated in the same way. Must be a surprise for him since he is used to being the media darling. He is learning that media, like jackdaws, are attracted to the newest shiniest object to enter their sphere.

Oprah Winfrey had the honesty to admit being an Obama acolyte. She is just a talk show hostess so her opinion is just that, her opinion. She might better occupy her time recommending Diets or Authors but then she’s missed a few times on those issues too.

Chris Matthews is a silly, sexist, twit. Had Matthews forthrightly admitted to being in the tank for Obama you might at least have respected his honesty. His pretense of being neutral was absurd. The tingle up his leg is probably a sign of poor circulation and not enough blood getting to his brain.

The list of Obama fans in the press is nearly endless. Eugene Robinson, E.J. Dionne, and Chris Cillizza are press agents for the Washington Post. Like many papers its circulation is dropping and will likely continue to drop as readers find themselves faced with fewer journalists and a proliferation of cheerleaders.  Were it not for Dana Priest and Thomas E. Ricks the Post wouldn’t be worth reading.

Frank Rich, and Bob Herbert love them some Obama for the New York Times. The Times should no longer be allowed to proclaim itself a newspaper of record. Professional and unbiased? Were it not for Paul Krugman the current Times would only be useful for the bottom of my parrot cage.

Only on the right is Obama not fawned over like the second coming. Even there he isn’t pummeled with the fervor to which a democrat is typically subjected. If Corporate Left and Corporate Right likes someone, that someone might not be the best choice for all us little peons out here that don’t have media contracts worth millions.

Our media has decided that they want Obama to be president. In pursuit of their wish that such a thing come to pass they are willing to slime anyone, tell any lie, spin a few words into something unrecognizable as from the truth and show us their true, corporate colors. There may be a few, a very few, honest, decent, hardworking journalists around. But real Journalists don’t work on cable “news” programs and they seldom show up on the pages of the top newspapers in the country. Like common sense, integrity and honesty are becoming less common all the time.

MSNBC has become the Obama network. I believe the “M” stands for misogynistic. CNN has become the loving Obama all the time network. CNN was once a respected news channel. Now there is more blather than news and more opinion than fact. Jumped the shark a while back. FOX, to everyone’s surprise has been the most unbiased of the 3 cable “news” network. Whoever would have believed that would come to pass?

Few people respect or believe media. Seven out of 10 voters (69%) are convinced that reporters try to help the candidate they want to win, and this year by a nearly five-to-one margin voters believe they are trying to help Obama. What does that say about how voters view the integrity of the media?

As if the misbehavior of the media were not enough they sneer down their exfoliated noses at the rabble for being “low information” voters. They do not do their job to inform us, then insult and demean us for NOT being informed.

Who, what, when, why and where as journalistic ideology? Gone with the snows of yesteryear…


“Flat Earth News” The State of ‘Churnalism'”

~~by InsightAnalytical-GRL

While listening to the BBC World Service months ago, I heard an interview with author Nick Davies, an acclaimed investigative reporter from Britain (see bio below). Davies, who had written a book entitled “Flat Earth News” (published in February 2008) lambasted the present state of journalism. In the book, Davies “exposes falsehood, distortion and propaganda in the global media.” Check out his website of the same name.

The part of the interview that has stayed with me these many months was his discussion of what Davies calls “churnalism.” If you scan the reaction by the journalists who have commented on the book, you’ll see the frustration of many of them who have experienced the process of taking press releases that have been rehashed and passed off as real news gathering and those who have been forced to rely on “automated news-sifting services” because they are no longer given the time to investigate stories or check their facts. In other words, as one comments, most news “isn’t original anymore.”

A video of a more recent interview with Davies on “churnalism” is available here at the BBC site and is well-worth watching!

Here’s a synopsis of the book from Davies’ site:

“Finally I was forced to admit that I work in a corrupted profession.” When award-winning journalist Nick Davies decided to break Fleet Street’s unwritten rule by investigating his own colleagues, he found that the business of truth had been slowly subverted by the mass production of ignorance.

Working with a network of off-the-record sources, Davies uncovered the story of the prestigious Sunday newspaper which allowed the CIA and MI6 to plant fiction in its columns; the daily newsroom where senior reporters casually refer to ‘nig nogs’ and where executives routinely reject stories about black people; the respected quality paper which was so desperate for scoops that it hired a conman to set up a front company to entrap senior political figures. He found papers supporting law and order while paying cash bribes to bent detectives and hiring private investigators to steal information.

Davies names names and exposes the national news stories which turn out to be pseudo events manufactured by the PR industry and the global news stories which prove to be fiction generated by a new machinery of international propaganda.

He shows the impact of this on a world where media consumers believe a mass of stories which, in truth, are as false as the idea that the Earth is flat – from the millennium bug to the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, tainting government policy, perverting popular belief.

He presents a new model for understanding news. With the help of researchers from Cardiff University, who ran a ground-breaking analysis of the contents and sources for our daily news, Davies found most reporters most of the time are not allowed to dig up stories or check their facts – a profession corrupted at the core.

Read All About It. The news will never look the same again.

An extract from the book is here.

Needless to say, this book has raised the hackles of many in the established media.  A paperback edition will be published in early 2009.

Check out Nick Davies’ site for updated posts on recent media distortions and for many links about the book and reactions to it, as well as media-monitoring sites, including:


Nick Davies’ Resume

“Nick Davies has been named Journalist of the Year, Reporter of the Year and Feature Writer of the Year for his investigations into crime, drugs, poverty and other social issues. Hundreds of journalists have attended his masterclass on the techniques of investigative reporting. He has been a journalist since 1976 and is currently a freelance, working regularly as special correspondent for The Guardian. He also makes TV documentaries; he was formerly an on-screen reporter for World In Action. His four books include White Lies (about a racist miscarriage of justice in Texas) and Dark Heart (about poverty in Britain). He was the first winner of the Martha Gellhorn award for investigative reporting for his work on failing schools and recently won the award for European Journalism for his work on drugs policy.”

21 Responses

  1. Hey, Marge…
    I got banned from Corrente for using the word “shill” when I wrote about how the media was “shilling” for Michelle and Barack’s ‘victimhood” card…

    Watch out!! LOL!!

  2. your post reminds us all of how valuable this blogging on the internet is…many of us have learned so much from sites such as yours because news reporting and investigation is practically non-existent on any media platform these days.

    the news shows are under pressure for ratings/advertising dollars, and do whatever they can now to get it. it’s not about the news, it’s about the advertiser’s dollars.

    it’s no wonder that the author of the book is from the UK, home of that once impeccable BBC news service. they are still ahead of us on that front…

    as a filmmaker who has made a documentary, my emphasis was on covering as much ground as i could within 75 min…most ‘documentarians’ focus on exploring the story through the prism of the point they want to prove. thus, the idea that documentaries by and large are more truthful than a narrative holds very little water for me…and michael moore is the epitome of creating a documentary to fit his needs.

  3. GRL, unbelievable. When did the word “shill” become verboten over there? I’ve read far worse than that!

  4. Yup! It must be one of the new words on the “un-acceptable and possibly racist” list.

    “Cuz you know the truth hurts and that’s the easiest way to stop the pain.

    I can’t wait until Nov when it’s all over and we can start to fix the real problem. the Obamacrats.

    As to the media I think they are in for a dose of reality. People don’t believe them anymore and now rely on finding their own scources for news. Pretty soon that will translate to ratings dropping and advertisers fleeing. Gravy train is running empty.



  5. You hit it on the head CQ. Most of the people I talk to say they don’t believe anything they see or hear coming from the media.

    One aquaintance flat out said that he was going to vote for Obama til he saw how the media slobbered all over him. Then he decided if they loved Obama, like they once loved Bush, then Obama was not a good choice. The time is fast approaching when media-love will translate into voter beware syndrome.

  6. Caffeine Queen – did you read the piece over at Not Your Sweetie saying that now even Global Warming is racist?

    GRL and Kenosha Marge – excellent pieces, both. That being said, I think you stopped just short of the truth on this matter. This is more than the media not doing their jobs, or not being given the opportunity to do investigations, or even an epidemic of Barackomania.

    These people are an integral and premeditated part of a very longstanding plan to not just elect Barack Obama, but to steal the electoral process (and ultimately democracy itself) away from the American people. This did not start with Barack Obama, or even the illegal coronation of George W. Bush. In fact, I have come to believe that the reason the media and political establishment reviles Bill and Hillary Clinton so deeply is because Bill derailed a plan (that has been in place since at least Ronald Reagan) to slowly but surely capitalize on the general laziness and laissez-faire attitude of Middle America to have a silent but irreversible coup d’etat where a silent government (behind the visible actors and bloviators in the Capitol and White House) in essence traps the American public into a bizzare state of modern slavery that even Orwell couldn’t forsee.

    We eat and buy what we are sold on TV, in the movies, and in popular music. Restaurants have become virtually 100% homogeneous across this vast nation (just think about how weird it is that you can walk into a chain restaurant – all owned by the same small group – anywhere in the US and order the same exact dish, and it will taste essentially the same, and have the same total lack of nutrition and be overloaded with carbohydrates and fats that make us sluggish, dull, and obese). All of our children have to have the same and latest cell phone, MP3 player, laptop, video game player, music, unreasonably expensive clothing and footwear – the list goes on and on.

    Now the global corporate machine is straining world resources to spread their plans to China, India, Russia (of course Europe has been there right along with us the whole time). But better still, they have figured out how to use this same marketing strategy to sell us wars, incite international terrorism to keep us in line (and begging them to bomb the crap out of “them”), and make the western world overweight, complacent, and so financially embroiled that we can never get out from under.

    Why would these people ever allow Universal Health Care, when they have so much to gain by keeping us working massive overtime in order to pay for medical treatment that is mostly necessary due to the lifestyle they have led us to by the collective nose? They use prescription drugs to keep us ill, and ridicule naturopathic remedies and practitioners that might be able to actually cure us (can’t have cures – must just mask symptoms). 15 years ago Chiropractic care was ridiculed, until the medical community saw that it was a cash cow.

    The basic strategy here is to keep us so indebted that we don’t have time to be activists, radicals or even notice that our lives no longer belong to us. But cleverly, they have wrapped it all in a pseudo-affluence so that when we start to complain, we realize that our non-stop lives of work-eat-sleep interrupted by soccer games and dance lessons for the kids and brief interludes at Starbucks or a day spa, or watching an NFL game aren’t nearly as bad as the victims they greedily bring us (ever wonder why suddenly over the last 8 years the media is covering so many natural disasters in disadvantaged countries, or why when there’s a hurricane or wildfire we literally see non-stop coverage until viewership starts to fall off?) so we give a heavy sigh and go back to being a corporate slave.

    Stop and ask yourself why Clinton Derangement Syndrome exists, and why it runs so deep. Monica Lewinsky has nothing to do with it (other than she was used as a way to enrage the rabble in the flyover states to buy into the concept – show these bitter low lives that their beloved President wasn’t who they thought he was), and there is no reason for it still to run so deep after this many intervening years (Hillary has ruffled virtually no feathers as a Senator with her extensive knowledge and diplomatic skills). And ultimately in this election, it was the media and Obama’s blogger team stirring up CDS among the unwashed masses that allowed the DNC to select Obama in a manner totally reminiscent of the 2000 election. Again, how long did you try to wrap your head around how Gore could have given up the fight so quickly after the obvious and barely disguised gaming of the election? “They” knew they had won when W. was re-elected sort-of legitimately (only a tad more than the usual manipulation of the results). The prize was within site, and the only thing standing in their way was another Clinton, easily dispatched with their new-found power and tactics. But what they didn’t count on was 18 million Americans waking up from their sugar-induced coma, the PUMA movement, or the idea that a run-down old has-been moderate like John McCain would rally the troops and find extra support in the guise of a moose-hunting, God-fearing reformer from Alaska.

    They have once again underestimated the American Spirit, our strength, our pride, and our ferocity. Right now, we have them leaning back on their heels, taken by surprise and un-prepared. Let’s not get complacent again. We must continue the attack as relentlessly as they have, and not stop until each and every one of them are out of power. We must return America to the great Republic of our Founders and FDR. And a large part of “them” are the MSM. It’s time to let them know we aren’t watching anymore. PUMAs must unite and incite! Perhaps we need to empower a Katie Couric (herself a victim of misogyny and being pushed out of her network anchor job) to poke at the bear by the only way we can. Watch her broadcast, and make it clear to everyone why we are doing so (including Couric herself). It’s not much, but perhaps it’s a start. “They” are starting to understand PUMA Power. Let’s make it mean something.

    Sorry for the length…
    \end rant

  7. AWESOME double post!

    I loved this line in particular from kenoshaMarge:

    “They do not do their job to inform us, then insult and demean us for NOT being informed.”

    I don’t think anyone could have said it better.

    And the article by InsightAnalytical-GRL is definitely insightful. How wonderful to know that there are still a few actual journalists out there with real integrity. Certainly a rarity in today’s world.

    Thank you both for an amazing and informative read.

  8. Rant away Grail. Lord knows there’s reason enough and then some. I believe much of what your rant said. I do absolutely believe it as pertains to the Clintons. What else explains the hatred?

    Pagan, I thank you very much. I read your blog every day and am often in awe of your insight. Compliments from you are a bonus I never expected.

    Yes, we stopped short because that’s a huge topic to cover….the reason WHY all this is happening!

    Your “rant” sure helps fill in the gap!!!! Thanks for visiting….GRL

  10. Thanks Pagan for your mention of the piece on “churnalism”… hope you get to watch the Davies interview…love the guy!

  11. GRL & Marge

    I am a regular reader (as well as at Pagan Power) and love to read all 3 of your comments across the blogsphere. I remember Marge, Pagan, and Uppity Woman’s comments being some of the first I read (and wholeheartedly agreed with) when I discovered that there were actually sites that cared about the truth and didn’t spew the same crap I saw in the mainstream. Thanks for your part in fighting the good fight! Keep up the excellent work!

  12. BTW – the blog you referenced above is actually Caffeine Queen’s (another on my list of faves). If you haven’t read her Hansel and Gretel pieces, you’re missing out!

    I haven’t taken the plunge yet with my own blog. I spend too much time reading the excellent material you fine folks publish! I honestly don’t know how you find the time to do so much research and still blog and post on other sites. Kudos to all the excellent PUMA/JSND bloggers, commenters, and lurkers for keeping the flame alive!

  13. Grail Guardian thaknks for the link and the nice words! You really shold start your own blog or contribute to one. I voluteer any time to let you use mine.

    Also I think you were right about it being far more than the media not doing their jobs it’s about them doing Obama’s job. Or whoever fits with their agenda. I just think GRL and Marge figured that’d be so much it would be better for another post.

    Marge and GRL you have it right people will never trust the media again at least not without some serious “house cleaning” and reform to principals and standards of journalism. I’m not going to hold my breath!


  14. Grail—sorry about that wrong link.. It was about 4 AM and I thought I clicked on your name and got to CaffineQueen!! LOL!

    Before I did that, I thought…Hey, this comment is so great…and so have others you’ve posted here….WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO BREAK THAT POST OUT AND FEATURE IT??

    In fact, would you like to post here along with me and kenosha Marge as the spirit moves you??

    No pressure, no censorship, no strings!

    Let me know, Grail!!! (I saw CQ’s invitation, too–don’t feel forced to choose or that IA would feel rejected….crossposting is nice, too!! LOL!~)

  15. Kudos…great read.

  16. I don’t trust any newspaper or TV network anymore, and the cable networks are a joke. Sometimes I’ll watch PBS, but am growing increasingly wary of their proObama tone too.

    Will take a look at Davies website… how do youall feel about Greg Palast?

    Once again, you GRRRLS framed it in an easily read package. Just brilliant!

  17. kenosha Marge rules!

    InsightAnalytical-GRL rocks!

    I’ve enjoyed kMarge’s work at NQ for quite a while. She’s the Queen Bee of Common Sense and Good Advice.

    Rule & Rock On Sisters!!

  18. GRL

    Sorry for the late response – I got sidelined by real life (in a rather nasty way) for a day or two.

    Thanks to both you and CQ for the invites. Feel free to break my rant out (and feel free to edit out the typos). If the spirit strikes (or usually massive anger), I’ll send the next rant in to you.

  19. GRL or kenoshaMarge

    Could one of you drop me an e-mail so I can contact you?


  20. Grail….check your mailbox….wrote to you earlier this afternoon….


  21. hy, Do something for help those hungry people in Africa or India,
    I added this blog about this subject:

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