Could it Happen Here?

Could it happen here? That sounds like the opening line of a Sci-Fi classic. Or a political scandal. Seems our gentile cousins on the other side of the Atlantic are terribly embroiled in the Murdoch-News Corp scandal reaching all of the way to the current Prime Minister.  Apparently Mr. Cameron’s first visitor after his election victory was no other than Rupert Murdoch himself- through the back door!

Here in Ohio some people are wondering about our new right-wing governor and former Fox News analyst.  Did Murdoch’s influence go all the way to the Ohio River? One need only look at the draconian policies that Ohio governor John Kasich has proposed for my state to realize that something odd is motivating the man. Kasich’s former employer, News Corp., was accused in 2010 of making improper campaign solicitations for Kasich’s campaign, however a bevy of top-notch lawyers pleaded to the Ohio Board of Elections and the case was summarily dismissed. Gosh, who’d have guessed?

It will be interesting to see that case reopened, but I doubt that the current [Republican] attorney general will be interested in investigating that allegation any further. Of course if hush money was involved, that could blow the case wide open.

I was a hot summer morning many decades ago when the Watergate plot exploded wide open on TV sets all across the land; could this summer be a repeat performance of another Republican scandal? How many Tea Party freshmen in Congress received donations from News Corp? Of course, we’ll never know what money transferred under the table or through other names and other businesses. By the way, does anyone know what’s happening over there on Fox these past several days? Are they in denial? Defensive?  Naturally, the Fox viewers must surely be themselves irate about any suggestion that ‘their’ network could have been involved in any wrong-doing.

And what of Limbaugh and his clones? Has he declared it a witch hunt and summarily dismissed the accusations as the libbbbbbbbbbbbberal media?

Here at Man with the Muckrake we’ve been concerned recently with the pervasive spread of low-information voters throughout the electorate, but now we may have to add a new category: professionally-propagandized voters. In both cases the end result is anathema to the ideals of the Founding Fathers and the principles upon which this nation was founded. Misinformed voters, whether through their own negligence or through brainwashing, cannot be trusted to make correct judgments in the voting booth. This is blatantly anti-American and mocks our democratic process.

Can it happen here?  Wrong question. Rather, one should ask- how long has it been going on here?

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13 thoughts on “Could it Happen Here?

  1. It’s been going on since at least the beginning of this millenium, if not earlier.

    I’d love to see the teaching of more critical thinking in schools. I’m a little surprised at how few people I know were ever encouraged to be critical in school, including strong rewards for asking good, analytical questions about subject matter.

  2. I’d love to see the teaching of more critical thinking in schools.

    Sorry, it appears that there is little room for THAT type of teaching these days with the need to teach-to-the-test syndrome that is sweeping the education world. Or, on second thought, was that an early scheme to dumb-down the American student so that they would be more propaganda-ready after leaving the classroom?

  3. Think of how long Murdoch has had a position in the US media. The Fox News channel was created on October 7, 1996 and has become the dominant cable news network in the United States.

    He has also infiltrated the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
    But, the problem isn’t Just Murdoch’s power, Since the media has become pretty much an oligopoly.

    The fact is that the right has always disliked “public” media. For good reason on their part. Most of the income of for-profit media outlets comes not from their audiences, but from commercial advertisers who are interested in selling products to that audience. Although people sometimes defend commercial media by arguing that the market gives people what they want, the fact is that the most important transaction in the media marketplace–the only transaction, in the case of broadcast television and radio–does not involve media companies selling content to audiences, but rather media companies selling audiences to sponsors.

    This gives corporate sponsors a disproportionate influence over what people get to see or read. Most obviously, they don’t want to support media that regularly criticizes their products or discusses corporate wrongdoing. More generally, they would rather support media that puts audiences in a passive, non-critical state of mind-making them easier to sell things.

    It is becoming harder and harder to escape from the propagandistic effects of advertising. Many students are now forced to watch commercials in school on Channel One. Even supposedly “noncommercial” outlets like PBS and NPR run ads-euphemistically known as “underwriter announcements.” FAIR believes that commercial advertising should be taxed, with the proceeds earmarked to fund truly noncommercial media.

    The problem isn’t the government, but the large business which controls the media. With the media, they can control the message and the level of debate. Since most media outlets are owned by for-profit corporations and are funded by corporate advertising, it is not surprising that they seldom provide a full range of debate. The right edge of discussion is usually represented by a committed supporter of right-wing causes, someone who calls for significantly changing the status quo in a conservative direction. The left edge, by contrast, is often represented by an establishment-oriented centrist who supports maintaining the status quo; very rarely is a critic of corporate power who identifies with progressive causes and movements with the same passion as their conservative counterparts allowed to take part in mass media debates.

    As I keep pointing out–note the lack of attention to the Congressional Progressive’s Caucus’s People’s budget! On the other hand, a recipe for the worst depression ever is being presented as an alternative to the “Tea Party” agenda.

  4. Hello All,
    I don’t think there are many in this country that has the hubris to think that it only was happening in England. It he engaged in the abuses there, he is doing it here.

    Hello Dog Gone,
    I was on Microdots site and it has just come to light for me when I saw the photo associated with your comments that you are a female. Please forgive my egregious fopa. I now understand what you were saying a couple of posts ago.

    Well that being said, I too agree with you that there is a need to teach of more critical thinking in schools. If this were being done, there would not be so many non-questioning LIV swallowing the Bull Crap that the Blow Hard Radio personalities have been spewing forth.

    We are a lesser nation because of the lack of Critical Thinking. I grew up to question the status quo and weed out what President Nixon was trying to ram rod through the media.

  5. Well, EOK, Nixon had his problems, but we would have had national health
    insurance under him, if Kennedy was not so damn jealous that Nixon would
    get credit for it and not him that Kennedy killed the bill. Much later Kennedy
    finally admitted it and said he was wrong.

    Now, instead of Nixon, we have Obama so damn intent on getting a budget deal
    that he is willing to sacrifice Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid up to
    the GOP. MSNBC programs are saying the gang of six budget deal is giving
    the GOP 80% of what they want. Yet, every poll released says there should be no touching of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Maybe we
    elected a Republic President in a Democratic coat?

  6. ( Hey can anyone help with info to attack the GOP lie that regulations kill
    jobs, and that we have to roll back regulations?)

    1. Try this:
      http://www.inthesetimes.com/working/entry/7309/chemical_industry_regulation_would_create_not_kill_jobs/

      Likewise, In this morning’s Washington Post, writers Phil Rucker and David Hilzenrath write of Rep. Darrell Issa’s plan to hold hearings on what regulations can be eliminated in the name of savings jobs.

      Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and his supporters in the business community had remarkable message discipline. At least 13 times in the article were either quotes or attributions that included the word ‘”jobs” and how regulations are hurting the creation of them.

      [House Republicans] are taking guidance from industry groups that say the rules threaten jobs.

      …Issa asked industry groups to identify regulations that “have negatively impacted job growth.”

      …He said the probe is “a starting point for the broader discussion that will unfold about the regulatory barriers to job creation.

      Thirteen times. You get the picture: Regulations reduce the number of jobs.

      Except the writers place this sentence in the middle of the nearly 1,600-word story.

      [M]any of the industry groups broadly said that government regulations would cost jobs but did not back up their claims with evidence.

      How many times should reporters allow the purveyors of a point of view for which they offer no evidence that said view is true before said reporters refuse to be stenographers at a fantasy convention?

      Maybe the claim by Republicans is true. Then where is the evidence?

  7. Hello Uptheflag,
    I too am very disapointed that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are going to be dismaltled by the GOP and the President is not standing up to them. I too have paid into this for many years and will not be there when I need it in a few years.

    This being said, I cannot imagine what we would have under McCain and Palin. It sure in hell would not be better.

  8. The basic gist of my comment to UTF is that there is proof that regulation does not cost jobs.

    The real issue is that the claim is being made that regulation costs jobs which is being parroted by the media and on the internet. You can put a good guess that the internet parroting is astroturf. It’s easy to shout down the opposition when you control the media and have technology on your side.

    The other problem is that people are so dim that they can’t really think for themselves. Have their lives become better over the past 30 years?

  9. UptheFlag comments, …Now, instead of Nixon, we have Obama so damn intent on getting a budget deal

    May I add to your comment- Now, instead of Nixon, we have Obama so damn intent on getting a budget deal to assure his reelection.

    “Regulations hurt jobs/job growth.” If you say it long enough… [Goebbels]

    Notice Boehner’s continual use of the phrase, “Job-killing-taxes.” He says that in every press opportunity along with ‘job-stifling-regulations.’

    The public, as we have often noted here, ‘tunes in’ to catchy phrasing essentially because of clever advertising. I can easily recall advertising phrases stuck in my head from 50 years ago. That’s why Boehner, Cantor and McConnell throw them in at every press opportunity.

  10. Hey fellas! Miss me?
    Any comment on S&P UPGRADING Ohio’s credit rating from “negative” to “Stable” based on the governor’s budget plan?

    Maybe Standard and Poor sees something you armchair economists have missed?

    1. Sepp, we won’t miss you so long as you lie about your millitary service, and seem to lie about other things. Until you correct that, I see no point in engaging in any discussion with you on any topic, because you are dishonest, personally and intellectually – and not terribly challenging.

      Or were you excluding me from the ‘fellas’?

    2. Oh Seppo, The voice of ignorance!

      And lies! What’s your SPD? Your RE? eh seppo.

      Are you saying that Debt is good?

      S&P revised Ohio’s credit rating. While the credit rating has stayed the same, the raters changed Ohio’s outlook from negative to stable. Here’s precisely the reasons given by S&P for the change:

      “Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services revised its outlook to stable from negative on the ‘AA+’ rating on Ohio’s general obligation (GO) bonds. The outlook revision reflects the state’s progress in restoring structural budget balance through fiscal 2013 and the modest economic recovery underway, which has stabilized revenues. At the same time, we assigned a ‘AA+’ long-term rating to Ohio’s $416.75 million GO refunding bonds.”

      In other words, due to the Strickland surplus and the economic recovery that began in early 2010 (the one that Kasich during the campaign denied was significant), Ohio’s fiscal outlook is now stable. One of the biggest factors that lead to the change in outlook was the nearly a quarter of billion dollars placed into the “rainy day” fund from the Strickland surplus. This is hardly surprising news since Moody’s said back in April that putting money into the “rainy day” fund would result in a change of their rating for Ohio’s outlook.

      Note that S&P doesn’t say that the Kasich budget has put Ohio in a structural balance. In fact, reading what S&P says in full makes it clear that it’s been the moderate economic recovery’s lifting of state revenues that has put Ohio on a path of fiscal stability. In other words, Kasich has it backwards. It’s the economy, not the actual budgetary changes Kasich has made, that accounts for “balancing” of Kasich’s budget.

      And political rhetoric from Kasich and his GOP legislators aside, that’s really not in dispute. If you look at the Kasich Administration’s actual numbers, you’ll see that they are banking heavily on additional revenues from economic growth to keep their budget balanced (in fact, general revenue spending, which is traditionally been the accepted measure of State spending since that isn’t “pass through” revenues from the federal down to the local level, is going UP by billions, the Administration is so confident.) The fact is that Kasich’s budget is only balanced if their prediction of a sustained economic recovery over the next two years pans out. If not, we’ll suddenly find ourselves with a deficit that could be over a billion.

      Still, all of this hasn’t stopped Kasich for claiming credit, even though S&P didn’t give him any.

      Credit rating agencies such as Standard & Poor’s have been subject to criticism in the wake of large losses beginning in 2007 in the collateralized debt obligation (CDO) market that occurred despite being assigned top ratings by the CRAs.

      Credit ratings of AAA (the highest rating available) were given to large portions of even the riskiest pools of loans. Investors, trusting the low risk profile that AAA implies, loaded up on these CDOs that later became unsellable. Those that could be sold often took staggering losses. For instance, losses on $340.7 million worth of CDOs issued by Credit Suisse Group added up to about $125 million, despite being rated AAA by Standard & Poor’s.

      So, your point, seppo?

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