Progressive Calendar 05.04.11
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Wed, 4 May 2011 00:10:00 -0700 (PDT)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   05.04.11

1. Alliant vigil     5.04 7am
2. Humanitarian war? 5.04 7pm

3. Reason/atheism    5.05 12noon
4. Eagan peace vigil 5.05 4:30pm
5. Northtown vigil   5.05 5pm

6. Thorstad/Peterson - Peter Erlinder disbarred by ICTR
7. Peter Erlinder    - Re Rwanda/Kagame et al
8. Chris Hedges      - On Osama Bin Laden's death
9. John V Walsh      - Obama to butcher Medicare to "save" it
10. Danny Schechter  - Why facts no longer matter in the media discourse

--------1 of 10--------

From: AlliantACTION <alliantaction [at] circlevision.org>
Subject: Alliant vigil 5.04 7am

Join us Wednesday morning, 7-8 am
Now in our 14th year of consecutive Wednesday
morning vigils outside Alliant Techsystems,
7480 Flying Cloud Drive Eden Prairie.
We ask Who Profit$? Who Dies?
directions and lots of info: alliantACTION.org


--------2 of 10--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Human war? 5.04 7pm

Public Forum: Is U.S. Military Intervention Ever Humanitarian?
Wednesday, May 4, 7:00 p.m. University of Minnesota, Carlson School, Room
1-127, 321 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis.

On March 19, 2011 the U.S. launched a new military intervention in the
Middle East, this time in Libya. The military action in Libya was called a
humanitarian response to the crisis in that country. Come to the May 4th
forum for a discussion: What economic and political issues are behind U.S.
military interventions around the world? Why is the history of U.S.
military action being couched in humanitarian terms? Will "humanitarian
intervention" be the new excuse for waging wars around the world?

Speakers: Anne Winkler-Morey, PhD, Historian of Latin America, U.S.
foreign relations and transnational social movements, community faculty at
member at Metro State University; Gary Prevost, Professor of Political
Science, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University; April Knutson,
Lecturer, U of M French Department, member, Haiti Justice Committee of
Minnesota. Co-Sponsored by: Students United, Mayday Bookstore, Minnesota
Peace Action Coalition, Anti-War Committee and others. FFI: Call
612-333-4719.


--------3 of 10--------

From: Minnesota Atheists <web [at] mnatheists.org>
Subject: Reason/atheism 5.05 12noon

Thursday, May 5, noon - 1:00pm [26]Day of Reason Rally Rotunda of the
Minnesota State Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Saint
Paul, MN
Minnesota Atheists celebrates the separation of church and state while the
Day of Prayer event oes on outside.  Featured speaker Sandhya Bathija, of
Amiericans United for Separation of Church and State.
Links: 26. http://www.meetup.com/minnesota-atheists/events/17256142

[Atheist Toastmaster George Kane will speak; he's looking for a
Toastmaster member to evaluate his speech. -ed]


--------4 of 10--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 5.05 4:30pm

PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of
Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and
candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south
of the river speaking out against war.


--------5 of 10--------

From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 5.05 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com.


--------6 of 10--------

Date: Tue, 03 May 2011 09:53:04 -0500
From: David Thorstad <binesi [at] gvtel.com>
From:   davidepet [at] comcast.net
Subject: Peter Erlinder Disbarred by ICTR -- Faces Indictment by Kagame
Dictatorship

Friends: The removal or disbarring of U.S. attorney Peter Erlinder by
the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda is outrageous.....

But note well that Erlinder's disbarring from the ranks of the defense
counsels at the ICTR also removes from Erlinder his ICTR-protections and
immunity against political prosecutions of the kind initiated by the
Kagame dictatorship in Rwanda in late May 2010, when Erlinder was
arrested in the capital city, Kigali, and charged with various crimes
under the Kagame dictatorship's genocide "minimalization" and "denial"
laws.(See Law No. 18/2008 Relating to the Punishment of the Crime of
Genocide Ideology, Codes and Laws of Rwanda, Ministry of Justice,
Republic of Rwanda.)

As the Kagame dictatorship has been waiting to formally charge Erlinder
under its genocide "minimalization" and "denial" laws, the ICTR's
disbarring of Peter Erlinder is therefore doubly outrageous, and
underscores once again the political nature of the ICTR in its service to
the Kagame dictatorship and its U.S. sponsors.

-- David Peterson
Chicago, USA
davidepet [at] comcast.net <mailto:davidepet [at] comcast.net>


--------7 of 10--------

Date: Tue, 3 May 2011 19:26:01 +0000
From: "Erlinder, Peter" <peter.erlinder [at] wmitchell.edu>
Subject: Re Rwanda/Kagame et al

NEWS ADVISORY- 5/3/2011
International Humanitarian Law Institute (U.S.A.)

---For the advancement of due process and equality before the law, in the
theory and practice of International criminal law---

Director: Prof. Peter Erlinder
c/o William Mitchell College of Law (est. 1900)
Saint Paul, MN 55105, U.S.A.
Tel: (1)651-290-6384/Fax: (1)651-290-6406

Contact: Dr. Christine Schoettler, PhD. (fr)
cschoettler [at] comcast.net<mailto:cschoettler [at] comcast.net>
                Andrea Palumbo, JD (eng)
                andrea.m.palumbo [at] gmail.com<mailto:andrea.m.palumbo [at] 
gmail.com>

Who's Denying Genocide?  2010 UN RPF-Genocide Report; UN Prosecutor Del
Ponte's Expose' of RPF-Crimes; and, Spanish Genocide Indictment of
Kagame/RPF Tell Real Story! ' St. Paul, MN- May 3, 2011- In a May 2nd
statement [AP], Rwandan

Prosecutor Martin Ngoga renewed the false "genocide denial" thought-crime
charges against IHLI Director Prof. Peter Erlinder for his US-authored
academic writings, reporting evidence and documents from the UN Tribunal
for Rwanda and declared him "suicidal" while he was in detention last
summer.  He was released for medical reasons after intervention by Hillary
Clinton and an international campaign. The IHLI is authorized to issue the
following statement:

 Prof. Erlinder has publicly stated on numerous occasions: he does not
dispute that tens of thousands of Rwandan Tutsis perished between April
and July 1994, in circumstances that fit the definition of the genocide
convention and that tens of thousands of Hutus were also victims, during
and after April- July 1994, Institute research notes evidence in the
public record shows that:

 Former ICTR Prosecution expert witnesses, Prof. Stam of U.of Mich. and
Prof. Davenport of Notre Dame, analyzed all reports from the Rwandan
government, NGO's and the UN, and found twice as many Hutus were killed as
Tutsis between April and July 1994,
www.genodynamics.org<http://www.genodynamics.org/>;

 The ICTR Military-1 Judgment (full version: Feb. 8, 2009) found
insufficient evidence to convict the former military leadership of a
long-planned conspiracy to commit genocide against Tutsi, or other crimes;

 The US Ambassador and declassified US documents from 1994, establish
that: (a) the assassination of the President of Burundi in October 1993
which triggered a "genocide of 150,000 Burundian Hutus;"(b) hundreds of
thousands of Hutu refugees pouring into Rwanda; (c) the displacement of
1.5 million Rwandans by RPF military aggression in early 1993; and (d) the
RPF assassination of the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi in April 1994,
were the actual causes of the Rwanda genocide. The U.S. Ambassador to
Rwanda personally warned Kagame in November 1993 that, if he resumed the
war, he would be responsible for mass violence in Rwanda in 1994, like
that in Burundi in 1993, which was also confirmed in cables from the State
Dept on April 7, 1994;

 UN documents show that the RPF was militarily dominant as of February
1993 and, according to UN Gen. Dallaire cables to the UN in April-June
1994, Kagame refused to stop the violence because he was winning;

 Former ICTR Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte's 2009 memoirs document then-Gen.
Kagame's culpability for the assassination of the Presidents of Rwanda and
Burundi of April 6, 1994 that began the Rwandan genocide, as does the 2008
indictment issued by Spanish Judge Abreu Merelles and French Judge
Bruguiere;

 The Spanish indictment also describes, prefecture-by-prefecture, 325,000
murders of Hutus and Tutsis for which Kagame and the RPF are responsible,
not considering the massive killing in Rwanda and the Congo, after 1994;

 Shortly after Erlinder's release, the UN issued the 600-page "Mapping
Report" documenting RPF Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes
1993-2003. UN Security Council Reports document RPF resource rape of the
Congo in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2008 of at least $250 million/year resulting
in some 6-7 million deaths;

In October 2010, Pres. Kagame issued orders to RPF leaders for Prof.
Erlinder's return to Rwanda "dead or alive," given the hundreds if not
thousands of assassinations and disappearances of his opponents, there is
little doubt Kagame would add his name to that list if he could. Prof.
Erlinder has been under medical treatment for PTSD since he returned from
detention, which are a matter of record in the ICTR, although the Appeal
Chamber chose to ignore his medical condition, his doctors and lawyers
will determine the proper response, should he be summoned to return as
Ngoga threatened.


--------8 of 10--------

On Osama Bin Laden's Death
by Chris Hedges
Published on Monday, May 2, 2011 by TruthDig.com

Editor's note: Chris Hedges made these remarks about Osama bin Laden's
death at a Truthdig fundraising event in Los Angeles on Sunday evening.

I know that because of this announcement, that reportedly Osama bin Laden
was killed, Bob [Scheer] wanted me to say a few words about it - about
al-Qaida. I spent a year of my life covering al-Qaida for The New York
Times. It was the work in which I, and other investigative reporters, won
the Pulitzer Prize. And I spent seven years of my life in the Middle East.
I was the Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times. I'm an Arabic
speaker. And when someone came over and told Jean and me the news, my
stomach sank. I'm not in any way naive about what al-Qaida is. It's an
organization that terrifies me. I know it intimately.

But I'm also intimately familiar with the collective humiliation that we
have imposed on the Muslim world. The expansion of military occupation
that took place throughout, in particular the Arab world, following 9/11 -
and that this presence of American imperial bases, dotted, not just in
Iraq and Afghanistan, but in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Doha - is one that has
done more to engender hatred and acts of terror than anything ever
orchestrated by Osama bin Laden.

And the killing of bin Laden, who has absolutely no operational role in
al-Qaida - that's clear - he's kind of a spiritual mentor, a kind of guide
- he functions in many of the ways that Hitler functioned for the Nazi
Party. We were just talking with Warren about Kershaw's great biography of
Hitler, which I read a few months ago, where you hold up a particular
ideological ideal and strive for it. That was bin Laden's role. But all
actual acts of terror, which he may have signed off on, he no way planned.

I think that one of the most interesting aspects of the whole rise of
al-Qaida is that when Saddam Hussein - and I covered the first Gulf War,
went into Kuwait with the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, was in Basra during
the Shiite uprising until I was captured and taken prisoner by the Iraqi
Republican Guard. I like to say I was embedded with the Iraqi Republican
Guard. Within that initial assault and occupation of Kuwait, bin Laden
appealed to the Saudi government to come back and help organize the
defense of his country. And he was turned down. And American troops came
in and implanted themselves on Muslim soil.

When I was in New York, as some of you were, on 9/11, I was in Times
Square when the second plane hit. I walked into The New York Times, I
stuffed notebooks in my pocket and walked down the West Side Highway and
was at Ground Zero four hours later. I was there when Building 7
collapsed. And I watched as a nation drank deep from that very dark elixir
of American nationalism - the flip side of nationalism is always racism,
it's about self-exaltation and the denigration of the other.

And it's about forgetting that terrorism is a tactic. You can't make war
on terror. Terrorism has been with us since Sallust wrote about it in the
Jugurthine Wars. And the only way to successfully fight terrorist groups
is to isolate themselves, isolate those groups, within their own
societies. And I was in the immediate days after 9/11 assigned to go out
to Jersey City and the places where the hijackers had lived and begin to
piece together their lives. I was then very soon transferred to Paris,
where I covered all of al-Qaida's operations in the Middle East and
Europe.

So I was in the Middle East in the days after 9/11. And we had garnered
the empathy of not only most of the world, but the Muslim world who were
appalled at what had been done in the name of their religion. And we had
major religious figures like Sheikh Tantawy, the head of al-Azhar - who
died recently - who after the attacks of 9/11 not only denounced them as a
crime against humanity, which they were, but denounced Osama bin Laden as
a fraud - someone who had no right to issue fatwas or religious edicts, no
religious legitimacy, no religious training. And the tragedy was that if
we had the courage to be vulnerable, if we had built on that empathy, we
would be far safer and more secure today than we are.

We responded exactly as these terrorist organizations wanted us to
respond. They wanted us to speak the language of violence. What were the
explosions that hit the World Trade Center, huge explosions and death
above a city skyline? It was straight out of Hollywood. When Robert
McNamara in 1965 began the massive bombing campaign of North Vietnam, he
did it because he said he wanted to "send a message" to the North
Vietnamese - a message that left hundreds of thousands of civilians dead.

These groups learned to speak the language we taught them. And our
response was to speak in kind. The language of violence, the language of
occupation - the occupation of the Middle East, the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan - has been the best recruiting tool al-Qaida has been handed.
If it is correct that Osama bin Laden is dead, then it will spiral upwards
with acts of suicidal vengeance. And I expect most probably on American
soil. The tragedy of the Middle East is one where we proved incapable of
communicating in any other language than the brute and brutal force of
empire.

And empire finally, as Thucydides understood, is a disease. As Thucydides
wrote, the tyranny that the Athenian empire imposed on others it finally
imposed on itself. The disease of empire, according to Thucydides, would
finally kill Athenian democracy. And the disease of empire, the disease of
nationalism - these of course are mirrored in the anarchic violence of
these groups, but one that locks us in a kind of frightening death spiral.
So while I certainly fear al-Qaida, I know its intentions. I know how it
works. I spent months of my life reconstructing every step Mohamed Atta
took. While I don't in any way minimize their danger, I despair. I despair
that we as a country, as Nietzsche understood, have become a monster that
we are attempting to fight.

Thank you.

 2011 TruthDig.com
 Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges graduated
from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign
correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books,
including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should
Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on
America.  His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy
and the Triumph of Spectacle.


--------9 of 10--------

Obama Prepares to Butcher Medicare
Destroying Medicare to "Save" It
by John V. Walsh
May 3rd, 2011
Dissident Voice

Right now only one man can butcher Medicare, and that man is Barack H.
Obama. Not one to be daunted by the seemingly unthinkable, like bombing
yet another country, Obama has begun to hone his blade of choice for
Medicare cuts.

His instrument is the "Independent" Payment Advisory or IPAB, part of the
already enacted ObamaCare. Recently Obama proposed that this board,
appointed by the President, take on a new role, that of "deficit
reduction". Despite the importance of this development, the Times carried
only one brief article on it, describing the IPAB with its new duties as
"a powerful independent board that could make sweeping cuts in the growth
of Medicare spending".1

Let us put this in context right away. First, the U.S. is by far the
richest country in the world with one quarter of the world's GDP and a per
capita GDP 17% higher than Canada's and 40% higher than France's, both of
which provide universal health care of high quality, with France rated as
the best health care system in the world by the WHO. There is no reason
for cruel cuts in Medicare, other than the extraordinary power of that
rapacious wing of parasitic finance capital called the insurance industry.
Instead we should be expanding Medicare to cover everyone.

Second the cognoscenti on health care may be saying to themselves at this
point, "Wait, that is just what countries like Canada do; they establish a
global budget to put a lid on costs". And that is a good point at first
blush. For an answer we turn to the indispensible daily brief by Dr. Don
McCanne of Physicians for A National Health Program.2 Here is what Dr.
McCanne says. IPAB raises "an important point that we have made before and
must make again: Applying a cap on Medicare payments alone at GDP plus
one-half or one percent (as IPAB will do, jw), without placing the same
caps on the rest of health care spending, risks devolving Medicare into an
underfunded, lower tier welfare program, with impaired access for Medicare
beneficiaries because of a lack of willing providers".

The same point is made by the Kaiser Family Foundation, thus: "If IPAB
recommends policies that squeeze Medicare payment rates without equal
pressure being placed on private payment rates, there is some concern that
Medicare beneficiaries would be at greater risk of having access problems,
as providers become more inclined to serve other patients".3

These dangers are made more acute by the political realities. First, if
Republicans set out to kill Medicare, as for example in the voucher scheme
of Rep. Paul Ryan, then the Democrats are sure to raise objections to
scare up some votes. But if Obama does the same in a less forthright way,
there will be silence from the Dems and from the majority of the grass
roots health activists who are securely anchored to the illusion of "the
lesser evil". Second, the IPAB puts Medicare cuts beyond the control of
elected representatives, the very thing that has prevented the demolition
of Medicare over the years. Get a reputation for opposing Medicare and get
ousted in the next election. That has been the simple rule. Here Obama is
being very clever by putting Medicare cuts beyond the reach of Congress.
It is true that Congress could overrule the IPAB, but it needs to do so
with a veto-proof supermajority, which is difficult indeed. So as with
war, Congress can simply give up more authority and thereby dodge blame
but place Medicare in mortal peril.

For this very reason, however, the Republicans may prove the best friends
of Medicare, along with a few hardy Democrats. From the Tea Party to some
progressive Dems there is resistance to further erosion of Congressional
power. Rep. Pete Stark, senior Democrat on the Ways and Means Subcommittee
on Health, commented tersely on the IPAB, one of only four Democrats to
raise objections to it so far: "Why have legislators?" He went on to say
that the IPAB may be worse than Ryan's vouchers: "In theory at least, you
could set the vouchers at an adequate level. But in its effort to limit
the growth of Medicare spending, the board is likely to set inadequate
payment rates for health care providers, which could endanger patient
care". This of course is the same point raised above by Dr. McCanne and
the Kaiser Family Foundation study.

But the Republicans are even more determined to put the IPAB in a bad
light - not out of altruism but to get votes. Although the right thing for
the wrong reason, it is still the right thing. Thus Republican Senator
John Cornyn, complained that the IPAB "punts difficult decisions on health
spending to an unelected, unaccountable board of bureaucrats". And
Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, he of Medicare voucher fame, calls the IPAB "a
rationing board" and agrees with Cornyn and Stark that Congress should not
"delegate Medicare decision-making to 15 people appointed by the
president". Ryan then said that IPAB would allow Obama to "impose more
price controls and more limitations on providers, which will end up
cutting services to seniors". He is right.

So the Democrats claim that the Republicans want to destroy Medicare and
the Republicans say the same of Democrats. The bitter truth is that they
are both right. Progressives, Libertarians and genuine Conservatives all
have good reason to oppose Obama's nefarious IPAB.

1.Obama Panel to Curb Medicare Finds Foes in Both Parties. [.]
2.Scroll down to .Comments. at the end. [.]
3.The Independent Payment Advisory Board. [.]
John V. Walsh can be reached at john.endwar [at] gmail.com.


[Suppose Obama does in Medicare. And then Social Security. I wager that
90% of those "progressives" who voted for him in 2008 will vote for him
again in 2012. They will do nothing constructive in the meantime, then
whine, "What else can we *do?*?" I heard one person who fits this
description say, "Well, if I don't vote for Obama, then I'd have to be
some kind of radical or revolutionary, and no way will I do that." Peace
in our time.  And if there's anything left of the country in 2016, it will
be Dem all the way. No matter what. The ruling class has in effect
millions of staunch allies. Most never learn or change. Most are beyond
redemption. Lesser-evil liberals have shown over the last thirty years,
and especially now, that they are intellectually, morally and socially
bankrupt. They will sit there, self-satisfied, as the country and the
people and our rights go down the toilet. Better Mussolini than Hitler,
they will say. Seig Heil, Korporation. -ed]


--------10 of 10--------

Why Facts No Longer Matter in the Media Discourse
How Media Outlets Became The New "Carnival Barkers"
By Danny Schechter
Monday, May 02, 2011
ZNet

How should we understand this latest and most troubling insight into the
reality of our media ecology?

In the aftermath of the resolution of the Great Birther bash-up, even as
President Obama tried to lay the issue at rest by producing the document
that showed, proved, verified, documented, and validated his birth in one
of the great states of our disunion, it was said that its release would
only fuel more debate, and convince no one.

In other words, in the end, this long debated fact didn't matter.

Facts no longer seem to matter on other issues, too, as articulated in the
now infamous memo issued by retiring Senator Jon Kyle whose office, when
confronted with evidence that he misspoke on the matter of how much money
Planned Parenthood spent on abortions - he claimed 90%, the truth was but
3%, issued an advisory that said, "The statement was not meant to be
factual".

Jon Stewarts' Daily Show and Stephen Colbert had a lot of fun with that
but one thing that's not funny is that even when media coverage discredits
or exposes some canard, public opinion is not necessarily impacted.

It doesn't change the minds of those whose minds are made up.

Once some people buy into a narrative or worldview they seem to be locked
into a way of thinking. For some, efforts to discredit a conspiracy theory
offer more evidence that the conspiracy is valid, because why else would
THEY want to refute it.

If you don't trust the President, don't believe he is an American or do
believe he is a socialist, nothing he or his supporters say will change
your mind. After all, what would you expect them to say?

So even refutation can turn into reinforcement and trigger more stridency.

Dismissing critics as "silly," as Obama has done, only annoys them and
makes them more determined to cling to their ideas, attitudes and anger.

The values (and prejudices) people grew up with often shape their
worldviews. Their parochialism limits what they are exposed to. Their
schooling and narrow range of experience seem to have had little impact in
broadening their views.

Political scientist Thomas Patterson describes this as  "The process by
which individuals acquire their political opinions is called political
socialization. This process begins in childhood, when, through family and
school, Americans acquire many of their basic political values and
beliefs. Socialization continues into adulthood, when peers, political
institutions and leaders, and the news media are major influences".

Writes Edward Song on Huffington Post, "For example, people who believe in
health care reform value helping the poor and needy. For progressives, it
is moral to help the poor".

For conservatives, helping the poor is helping people who are
irresponsible, and goes against their principle of individual
responsibility. The conservative's solution to poverty is called "Tough
Love." Whether you believe in helping the poor is a matter of values and
not a matter of logic. Believing otherwise is the big progressive mistake
over the last 40 years.

Conservative columnists like John Hawkins seem to subscribe to this view
too.  Writing on Townhall.com, he argues,

"The sad truth of the matter is that most Americans don't pay much
attention to politics and those that do often just parrot doctrine instead
of investigating issues with an open mind. This allows lies, myths, and
dubious assertions to live on long after they should have shriveled and
died in the light of day".

Surprisingly, he also quotes JFK: "No matter how big the lie; repeat it
often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth."

Media outlets play a role in fashioning a culture of repetition, producing
armies of "ditto heads" who are exposed to message-point pseudo journalism
that they in turn regurgitate to advance partisan agendas. This approach
is built into the design of the new polarizing and politicized media
system.

This leads in the words of Vietnam War chronicler Tim O'Brian to how "you
lose your sense of the definite, hence your sense of truth itself". He was
writing about military wars abroad but his insight applies to political
wars at home as well. We are all becoming casualties of a media war in
which democracy is collateral damage.

Not surprisingly, the dominance of conservative media produces more people
who align themselves as conservatives and will only understand the world
that way. The shortage of progressive media outlets limits the mass the
circulation of progressive perspectives.  No wonder the media marketplace
is so devoid of competing ideas.

Beyond that, media outlets legitimize virtually all controversies as
valid, however contrived they may be, just to have something to talk
about. This legitimates subjects with the noise of continuing blather and
contentious discussion featuring superficial analysis by unqualified
pundits.

One consequence, according to GOP political consultant Mark McKinnon is
that voters cast ballots on attributes not issues. "They want to see the
appearance of strength in leaders, and are less persuaded by what they
say". That means, news programs ultimately trade in fostering impressions,
not conveying information. Viewers trust their feelings over facts.

Remember, one of the most profitable formats on cable TV is not news but
wrestling driven by cartoonish characters and invented confrontations. Is
it any wonder that ratings hungry news programs take a similar approach to
political combat. They are in the business of producing numbers for
advertisers more than explanations for viewers.

John Cory commented on the media role in legitimating the birther issue
and turning it into a form of entertainment, calling it "a sorry and sad
day for America..

"What does it say about our 'media' that they have spent so much time and
so much effort promoting crazy over reality? That our 'media' relishes
circus clowns jumping out of their clown-cars and spraying clown-seltzer
everywhere and then giddily covers the wet and stained audience reaction
while ignoring the burning of fact?"

So, it is the media system itself, not Donald Trump or some crazy, that is
the real "carnival barker" in the President's words, Their programs
program the audience by constantly and continually framing issues in a
trivial matter. Manipulating emotion is their modality, doubt their
currency and cynicism their methodology, except, of course, on issues like
the economy, Israel or US wars.

The shame of it is that they know what they are doing, know what the
impact of what passes for "coverage" will be, but do it anyway.

News Dissector Danny Schechter,  former network producer,  edits
Mediachannel.org. He writes the News Dissector blog
(Newsdissector.com/blog). Comments to dissector [at] mediachannel.org

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
                     over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02
              please send all messages in plain text no attachments

                          vote third party
                           for president
                           for congress
                           for governor
                          now and forever

                           Socialism YES
                           Capitalism NO

                           Impeach Obama


 To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg
 --------8 of x--------
 do a find on
 --8

 Research almost any topic raised here at:
  CounterPunch    http://counterpunch.org
  Dissident Voice http://dissidentvoice.org
  Common Dreams   http://commondreams.org
 Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones



  • (no other messages in thread)

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.