Saturday, May 25, 2013

Yahoo Going Nooz Route In Aggregating Glenn Beck The Blaze Right-wing Nuttery

By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise ~ Adolf Hitler (4/20/1889 to 4/30/1945) dictator of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. Hitler was at the center of Nazi Germany, World War II in Europe, and the Holocaust.

The Yahoos at Yahoo News appear to be at it again. If they aren't hiring Fox Nooz butt kissers like Dylan Stableford, then they're cozying up to Right-wing nutjob Glenn Beck's The Blaze. "Scandals Have Snowballed Through the Obama Years and More May Be Coming" is the nooz story I discovered a link to prominently featured on the Yahoo home page. Did Yahoo News pay for this Obama bashing tripe by "assistant editor" (and former Paul Ryan staffer) Christopher Santarelli, or are they just conferring to The Blaze some legitimacy by aggregating their nooz?

"Nooz" as I define it (and I think many on the Left would agree here and use the word similarly) is Right-wing propaganda masquerading as actual news. The term is (of course) in reference to Rupert Murdoch's Fox News, otherwise known as Fox Nooz or Faux Nooz. Now, I have noticed that on this occasion (as well as others) Yahoo News is going the "nooz" route, in that they seem to be catering to the far-right with one-sided news (or "nooz") stories authored by "reporters" actually employed by Yahoo, or by aggregating nooz from far-right sources, as is the case with this article from The Blaze.

Following are some excerpts from The Blaze story in which Glenn Beck employee Christopher Santarelli interviews writes about an interview of TN Representative Marsha Blackburn by Mallory Factor (Blaze contributor and not a woman despite the feminine name). Blackburn, one of the nuttier members of the House, believes the Affordable Care Act (AKA ObamaCare) to be "a government run, government ensured, government financed, government delivered healthcare system" (it isn't), and that it might include death panels (it doesn't).

Santarelli: Rep. Marsha Blackburn says the growing controversy involving HHS Secretary Kathy Sebelius trying to raise money from companies that her department regulates ranks among the major scandals that are plaguing the administration. The funds raised would go to nonprofits that help people enroll in and get excited about Obamacare.

My Commentary: According to Steve Benen of the Maddow Blog funds are needed to promote the health care law. The more people that sign up, the larger the pool and the lower the costs per person... but the Republicans won't provide any funds for this necessary promotion, so Sebelius has been soliciting "private-sector health executives and non-profit organizations" for some cash to fund the promoting. It's all quite legal so long as there is no quid pro quo.

Santarelli: "A lot of people have said it sounds like Iran-Contra - to me, I think it's probably a little bit worse", Blackburn said in a video interview with TheBlaze contributor Mallory Factor.

My Commentary: No, it isn't "a bit worse". You only think that because you're a nutter. The two situations are actually not comparable in the least. With Iran-Contra individuals in the Reagan administration were raising money via the sale of weapons to Iran to fund Nicaraguan rebels. It was all very illegal, while Sebelius asking for donations to promote the health care act is totally legal. One was a scandal that should have resulted in Regan going to jail, while the other isn't a scandal at all.

Blackburn does, however, appear to be on the same page as the other Tennessee Rs. Regarding the fundraising, Senator Lamar Alexander says "the legal analogy with Iran-Contra is strong", and that it "should cease immediately and should be fully investigated by Congress". Fu#k you Lamar. Intelligent people recognize this as yet another Republican attempt to undermine the president's health care legislation. Also, shame on the voters of Tennessee who elected these far-right kooks (a group that does not include me. I live in TN, but didn't vote for either of these dumbasses).

Santarelli: Blackburn told TheBlaze that scandals have "snowballed" through the Obama years, now coming to a head with... Benghazi, the Department of Justice caught surveilling lawful media outlets like the Associated Press and Fox News, the IRS targeting conservative groups, and this latest controversy with Sebelius and the HHS. Blackburn told TheBlaze that she has even heard of more whistleblowers set to step forward regarding scandals at the EPA.

My Commentary: That Republicans cut funding for protecting our embassies and consulates is a valid concern and should be addressed. The real scandal regarding the IRS "targeting" conservative groups is that they were all approved, even though the law says 501c4's "must operate exclusively for the promotion of social welfare" and not allowed to "specifically endorse any political candidate".

So the IRS found that no tea bag group was violating this rule? What bull. In any case, the real reason groups like these want the 501c4 status is so they can "avoid having to reveal their contributors". I agree with Senator Ron Wyden who says politically active groups (like the tea party groups that were "targeted") "ought to be 527 organizations [that] must disclose their donors" (they would still be tax exempt).

As for the Justice Department seizing of AP phone records, concern over that is right and just, but Republicans have previously opposed a media shield law, while it has broad support from Democrats. Republicans simply want to have their cake and eat it too in regards to this issue; i.e. criticize the administration but not "hamstring" future (Republican) administrations when it comes to going after the media's reporting of White House leaks. What is needed here is some serious reforms to ensure freedom of the press, and it does not appear as though (the hypocritical) Republicans are willing to go far enough.

Regarding Blackburn's assertion that individuals within the EPA are going to whistleblow, I'm not sure what she is referring to. However, given Blackburn's abysmal voting record when it comes to Oil/Energy/The Environment, she's probably referring to the EPA's attempt to regulate CO2... that is, actually do something about Global Climate Change given the fact that Congressional Republicans refuse to do a damn thing to address this serious problem.

Santarelli: Blackburn said that along with colleagues in Congress she will investigate these cases methodically and responsibly, subpoena individuals when necessary, and "make certain power grabs like this don't take place".

My Commentary: It isn't responsible to exploit non-scandals for political advantage Marsha! It isn't that I think Congress should ignore these issues, as I am a believer that it is the role of Congress to provide oversight, but that isn't the Republican goal here. The goal is to embarrass the Obama Administration, use these "scandals" for political advantage (in the upcoming midterms and in the next presidential election) and to stymie the Congressional Democrats and President's agenda. Proof of that will be their failure to pass any meaningful reforms.

I predict that the IRS scandal will open the door to further abuse of 501c4s. These groups will now be able to openly politick and hide who their donors are (which is what the Repubs want). The AP/Fox scandal might result in some legislation that provides some protections to reporters, but passage of the media shield law the Dems want is unlikely. The Benghazi hearings might lead to better protections for our overseas diplomats, but I haven't actually heard any talk of restoring any of the cut funding.

Finally, in regards to the "little bit worse" worse than Iran-Contra issue of funding for the implementation of ObamaCare... the Repubs object to the use of funds from outside sources, but they won't approve any government funding (thus eliminating the need of the administration to rely on donors), because the goal here is to sabotage it (the implementation). My prediction here is that nothing will happen - the Repubs won't stop Sebelius nor will they restore funding.

In other words, the Repubs will fail utterly to make any of these faux scandals stick. Although I'm sure some of them know that, but will press ahead anyway due to the fact that regardless of the outcome they will achieve their primary objective of obstructing. And that, folks, is why this recovery has been so weak, and we get ignorant Keynesian-bashing comments such as the following...

Willis Hart: There have only been 2 sharp economic downturns in U.S. history that haven't been followed by a sharp economic recovery; the Great Depression under Hoover... and FDR and this current malaise under Bush and Obama. I would strongly argue that it (the fact that both were responded to via an interventionist government) is hardly a coincidence (5/5/2013).

No. I'd argue the problem is not enough intervention. With this idiotic statement Mr. Hart completely ignores the fact that the Republicans have been working hard to stymie a recovery via actual sabotage. That is the REAL intervention that is taking place here... intervention by the Republicans aimed at making the economy worse!

So what we have here, IMO, is far-Right propaganda coming from a individual who presents himself as "Moderate" and from a supposed "news" organization which some might mistake for unbiased straight reporting. But who really gives a crap what one deluded individual thinks (Willis Hart), or even one deluded individual with a small audience (Glenn Beck) thinks. I find it far more troubling that Yahoo News is lending it's legitimacy to this type of extremist nuttery. I've never seen a MSNBC story on Yahoo.

Also, don't forget that Beck was fired by Fox for, among other things, claiming that the president hates White people. Fox has more legitimacy IMO than Beck, and remember I made the case earlier that Fox traffics in Right-wing propaganda. The Blaze is loony-toon paranoid propaganda which should be shunned by all of us normals (both on the Left and on the Right).

Just as Dish Network adding The Blaze to its channel lineup was a very bad idea, so is Yahoo adding it to it's news feed a bad idea. Both these companies need to rethink these decisions. Glenn Beck may be able to make a buttload of money catering to far-Right nuts, but that doesn't mean anyone else should even acknowledge the existence of The Blaze. I'm not saying search engines should censor their results as I do not support censorship, but placing stories from The Blaze alongside stories from legitimate news sources (and thereby lending The Blaze credibility) is, I think, a little troubling.

SWTD #156

3 comments:

  1. Great commentary Dervish. I enjoyed reading it. However, I think you're overlooking something. IMHO there is nothing nefarious in Yahoo subscribing to TheBlaze news (or "nooz") feed. It's a simple free market based decision. Mr. Beck, as you point out, has made a "buttload" of money selling his Right-wing opinions via TheBlaze. As any Conservative will tell you Money=Success. Yahoo is only recognizing the success of Beck's venture and the fact that people want it (or it would not be successful). I don't know why there is no MSNBC news feed featured on the Yahoo home page. Maybe MSNBC has an exclusive contract with The Huffington Post (another News aggregator)?

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  2. You are right, of course. Also, a very astute observation. The fact that Yahoo subscribes to TheBlaze news feed is more a sad commentary on how gullible the public is... or the portion of the public that subscribes to and will pay for the kind of nuttery Glenn Beck traffics in. I stand by my critique of TheBlaze article, however. Marsha Blackburn is a far-right nutter in the mold of Michele Bachmann and Louie Gohmert (perhaps not quite as dumb, but close).

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  3. Money does not equal success, money is a by product of success. Just as humans are a waste product of capitalism. Corporations and it seems the American people have accepted this warped definition of capitalism, which is why we are failing.

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