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media

…if you don’t frame an issue properly, someone else will frame it for you, and likely in a way that benefits them rather than you. Frame or be Framed

Pundits and news celebrities on the airwaves engage in fevered speculation about whether the wife of a former president will run for office—and this after the mediocre son of another president spent eight years in the White House. This is not politics. It is gossip. Opinion polls, the staple of what serves as political reporting, are not politics. They are forms of social control. The use of billions of dollars to fund election campaigns and pay lobbyists to author legislation is not politics. It is legalized bribery. The insistence that austerity and economic rationality, rather than the welfare of the citizenry, be the primary concerns of the government is not politics. It is the death of civic virtue. The government’s system of wholesale surveillance and the militarization of police forces, along with the psychosis of permanent war and state-orchestrated fear of terrorism, are not politics. They are about eradicating civil liberties and justifying endless war and state violence. The chatter about death panels, abortion, gay rights, guns and undocumented children crossing the border is not politics. It is manipulation by the power elites of emotion, hate and fear to divert us from seeing our own powerlessness. Chris Hedges

But we’ve found ourselves in a cultural climate that appears increasingly unlikely to promote the skills required to think coherently about ourselves or how properly to converse with each other. The trouble with a sound-bite culture that resents complexity and lacks the patience to listen to (or read) any account of people, places, or events that doesn’t somehow prove we’re in the right is that it eventually becomes a sort of feedback loop playing over in our heads even when we aren’t tuned in to the television, radio, or computer screen. Our minds become populated with the slogans, short answers, talking points, and clichés that made us feel strong and in control when we heard them, and we only like to hear them reaffirmed David Dark

American television is in the midst of a golden age of classical, even Shakespearean story-driven, hands-on, writer-centric, tradition-connected creativity despite the best efforts of the now-irrelevant deconstructionist literary theorists of the 1960s and 1970s. Shows like Breaking Bad and House of Cards explore “old fashioned” classical themes of good and evil to wild global popular acclaim. Wasn’t moral argument through theater supposed to have ended with the absurdist theater of Surrealism and Dadaism? Did Jean Genet, Jean Tardieu and Samuel Beckett strive in vain Most people seem to vote with their feet, ears and eyes for spirituality-laden aesthetic traditions that, like the Dude, abide. Video games are increasingly representational. Furthermore, the “rebellious young” are reviving representational art through their ubiquitous tattoos! The War on Traditional Notions of Narrative, Order and Beauty Has Failed

And this is what I’d also like to say to Nate Silver: Victory is yours. It has already been accomplished. Dude, you worked for the New York Times and you left it voluntarily — to work for ESPN, 80% of which is owned by Disney and the other 20% by Hearst. In 21st-century America, it is not possible to be any more inside than this. You cannot stick it to the Man — you are the Man. It’s best that you, and people in similar positions, realize that as soon as possible; and forego the illusion that you have some outsider status that exempts you from criticism like that presented by Emily Bell. Whether you agree with Bell’s argument or not, get used to it: you’re going to hear a lot more along those lines as long as you continue to be the Man. Text Patterns

The medium is the message, and because the camera sees but doesn’t think, it substitutes the personal for the impersonal; whether in Hollywood restaurants or Washington committee rooms, the actor takes precedence over the act. What is wanted is a flow of emotion, not a train of thought, a vocabulary of images better suited to the selling of a product than to the expression of an idea. Narrative becomes montage, and as commodities acquire the property of information, the amassment of wealth follows from the naming of things rather than the making of things. Crowd Control: Political Revolt and the Accumulation of More

Now I loathe and despise the media in a way I did not think possible. I used to engage with the media knowing that some of it would be adversarial, but now it’s superfluous at best and toxic at its worst. If MSNBC went off the air tomorrow, what difference would it make? If the Huffington Post went out of business tomorrow, what difference would it make? Arianna Huffington accomplished what she wanted to accomplish. She created this wonderful thing. And what have they done with that? They want clicks, I get it. They’ve gotta have clicks for their advertisers, so they’re going to need as much Kim Kardashian and wardrobe malfunctions as possible. The other day, they had a thing on the home page about pimples. Tripe. Liberal and conservative media are now precisely equivalent. Alec Baldwin

In Cronkite’s day, we were already coming to the end of the “Mad Men” moment that submerged the possibilities and vitality of millions of women, people of color and gay Americans. We now frequently substitute for that anachronistic community a cosmopolitan atomism, celebrating both our diversity and individuation. Let’s take some of each: What we need now is a cosmopolitan community, at least when it comes to talking to each other. If we’re not going to pretend anymore that Walter Cronkite and Tom Brokaw have all the answers, then we’re going to have to create a new civic culture, and figure out a way to somehow respect, yet criticize each other at the same time. The End of America’s Fake Consensus

Does anyone truly believe that the way they treat the press is imperiling their security, or that America couldn’t prosper even if it was as friendly to the press as Finland? Does Team Obama believe that the terrorists are going to win in Sweden, New Zealand, and Iceland because their balance is too press-freedom friendly? The United States Just Finished 46th in a Press-Freedom Contest

Nobody knows exactly when it happened. But at some point between Teddy White’s The Making of the President, 1960 and the Willie Horton ads in 1988, political journalism in this country lost the plot. When it got overly interested in the inside game, it turned you and me and everyone who has to go into the voting booth and make a decision into an object of technique, which it then tried to assess. We became the people on whom the masters of politics practiced their craft. Then political journalism tried to recover an audience from the people it had turned into poll numbers and respondents to packaged stimuli. Tricky maneuver. Behold how badly our political journalists have lost the freakin’ plot

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