Tag: Vox

Media to the American public: If anyone’s going to deceive you, it’s going to be us

Following the release of a video by the Bloomberg campaign showing a 20 second awkward silence after Bloomberg asks his Democratic debate opponents if they’d ever started a business, many media outlets are reaffirming their position that they alone reserve the right to produce deceptive and misleading media content.

Washington Post Fact-Checker Glenn Kessler assigned four Pinocchios to the Bloomberg video stating, “Anyone who had not seen the debate could have been easily misled into thinking the other candidates stood there in stunned silence for nearly half a minute.”

Setting aside the near cosmic certainty that a stage full of political candidates could never remain silent for twenty seconds during a debate in progress, debate moderators and MSNBC producers would likewise never allow that much dead air to eat up the broadcast.  Wouldn’t someone in the control room shout through a moderator’s earpiece, “Ask a fucking question!” or wouldn’t they just cut to a commercial?     

But, alas, I’m just one of the naive, propaganda consuming public who doesn’t realize when he’s being misled and misinformed by sophisticated disinfo agents.  For that take, Vox interviewed Cindy Otis, a former CIA analyst and disinformation expert who has authored a helpful guide for identifying disinformation called, True Or False: A CIA Analyst’s Guide to Spotting Fake News.  Otis tells Vox, “Not being up front about an edited video or other changed content runs a big risk since people spread things quickly without verification.”

How thoughtful of this former employee of the CIA to use her experience and expertise to help Americans bypass the lies and deception and get straight to the facts.  After all, it’s been the CIA’s mission for years to get the truth out to the American public, even if they have to secretly collude with news organizations to do it. The CIA has always been very “up front” about their propaganda and media manipulation.

In addition to illustrating the ways by which Bloomberg’s video deceives the public, HuffPost is super excited about Twitter’s plan to label tweets containing “manipulated media,” or remove tweets if they “are likely to cause harm.”  It seems there were a number of Twitter users who were concerned the debate stage had been overrun by crickets after viewing the Bloomberg video. HuffPost is committed to making sure the American public gets only an objective rendering of the facts, which is why Jesselyn Cook concludes her piece by informing readers, “Bloomberg’s performance in the debate in Las Vegas – his debut at the forums – was widely panned, as he struggled to respond effectively to harsh criticisms of his record on race relations, sexual harassment complaints, economic inequality and other issues.”

Got that?  If you watched the Bloomberg campaign video, you might think that he dunked hard on the rest of the field, but thankfully, HuffPost is concerned enough to let you know what really happened.

If it weren’t for much of the mainstream media portraying Bloomberg as a shrewd media manipulator, much of the American public might just take him for a tool.  His campaign videos and social media are often an embarrassing attempt to seem edgy or hip. He would probably be better off just giving money directly to voters for their support instead of trying to persuade them with media ads.

Following similar media uproar over the Speaker Pelosi speech shredding video, it seems pretty clear that the only deceptive parties in both cases are the mainstream media outlets that have worked overtime to mislead the American public into believing they’re being assaulted with deceptive videos.  In the dozens of pieces that have been written on these videos, none have produced any evidence that large swaths of the public are being misled. In fact, most of the public comments and tweets on these stories seem to dispute the media’s contention. Attempting to give weight to their narrative, the MSM rollout experts instead of relying on evidence.  But you don’t have to be an expert or former CIA to know these videos aren’t intended to be interpreted literally, and you don’t have to be an expert to know that these journalists are handing you a con job. 

Democrats brainstorm additional ways they can help Trump win in 2020

Riding the success of the Speaker Pelosi speech shredding video, Democrats are working closely with the Trump campaign to generate additional campaign content to help propel Trump to victory in 2020.

“We welcome all the help we can get from Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats,” said Brad Parscale, Trump 2020 campaign manager.  “With impeachment and the Iowa Caucus debacle boosting Trump’s approval rating to the highest level of his presidency, we’re considering just sitting back and letting the Dems drive this bus.”  

“The Democrats have a proven track record of blowing races they should win and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory,” said Drew Hammill, Speaker Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff.  “When the Trump team came to us expressing concern over the president’s declining poll numbers, we had just one question for them: How can we help?” 

The result was a video showing Speaker Pelosi tearing up President Trump’s State of the Union address as he delivers good economic news and honors an American World War II hero.  “I wish I could take credit for that,” said Parscale. “That was a stroke of genius. Someone told me she even had the pages partially pre-torn to ensure maximum dramatic effect.” 

Not everyone is thrilled about the Dems strategizing for Trump.  Appearing on MSNBC’s Panic Room, longtime Democratic strategist from way, way back James Carville flipped out over the Iowa debacle and the prospect of nominating an avowed socialist as the Democratic nominee. 

“Eighteen percent of the population controls 52 Senate seats,” Carville said.  “We’ve got to be a majoritarian party. The urban core is not gonna get it done.  What we need is power! Do you understand? That’s what this is about.”

A few days later, in an interview with Vox, Carville put a fine point on his criticism of Democrats, “We’re losing our damn minds.”

Chappelle causes wokest of woke media to go wokeshit crazy

If I hadn’t known better, I might have thought Dave Chappelle penned a controversial op-ed in the New York Times on Monday, or maybe he appeared on CNN where he launched into a misogyny laden, transphobic rant to the horror of panelists and viewers at home.  Nope, he released a Netflix comedy special Monday, and while the special was generally well received by the public and most media outlets, predictably, the wokest of woke media went wokeshit.    

Vice tried to get out ahead of the special by confidently announcing, “You Can Definitely Skip Dave Chappelle’s New Netflix Special ‘Sticks & Stones.’”  If Vice thought their “nothing to see here, folks, move along” review was going to limit viewership, my guess is they’re sorely disappointed. It would be interesting to know the ratio of people who heeded Vice’s warning versus those who tuned in because of it.  You can definitely put me in the latter camp.

For the woke millennial crowd who may never have heard of comedy, or who aren’t all that familiar with comedy or Dave Chappelle, Vox weighs in with its explainer piece, delivering fact-checks and unimportant backstory to many of Chappelle’s bits.  “Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special targets Michael Jackson’s accusers, #MeToo, and cancel culture” by Aja Romano reads like a critique of some author or intellect who’s on tour promoting a serious work of social commentary. Referring to Chappelle’s bits about Michael Jackson, R. Kelly and Kevin Hart, Romano says, “whether he framed those events fairly or not in order to mine them for comedy has become a contentious talking point.”  Why is Chappelle expected to frame events fairly for a stand-up comedy routine? Why does Romano take Chappelle’s hour-long monologue so literally and so seriously? People who enjoy comedy don’t care if the work has been thoroughly fact-checked, and don’t expect to get the comedians true convictions and most deeply held beliefs. Comedians talk shit, they embellish and they make shit up. That’s what makes it funny. Who gives a fuck if Chappelle’s account of his interactions with the director of Surviving R. Kelly differ slightly from hers?  A humorless writer for Vox, I guess. 

The consistent criticism levelled by the Vox piece and pieces in Slate and Buzzfeed is that Chappelle is punching down.  Okay, so I’ve never read the stand-up comedy handbook. I don’t know what the rules are when it comes to putting together a stand-up routine.  All I can go by are my decades of watching stand-up comedians, starting with George Carlin, Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy and moving through to the present.  If there is a rule against punching down in stand-up, this is the first I’m hearing of it. I thought comedians could punch whatever the hell direction they wanted.  Sure, comedians often go after celebrities, politicians and the rich and powerful because we’re all familiar with these folks, so they make good targets. But comedians also caricature ordinary people: a pimp, a drug dealer, a strict father, a strict grandmother, a sweet grandmother, bratty children, a classmate, a redneck, a convenience store clerk, a taxi driver, a co-worker, a person in line at Starbucks, a stoner, a fitness freak, a church lady, security guards…  There is almost no limit to the number and kind of individuals who have been caricatured over the years in sketch comedies, movies and stand-up routines.       

In Tomi Obaro’s piece for Buzzfeed entitled “Dave Chappelle Doesn’t Need To Punch Down,” the author takes particular offense at Chappelle’s characterization of “the alphabet people.”  Frustrated at Chappelle’s lack of thoughtfulness, the author at one point suggests, “It’s enough to make you want to tie Chappelle to a chair and force him to binge-watch episodes of Pose.”  Whatever that might accomplish, I seriously doubt it would improve Chappelle’s comedy, at least not in the way Obaro thinks it would. Towards the end of the piece, Obaro complains about Chappelle’s lack of maturity and asks, “why not strive to be more interesting, more original, more thoughtful?”  It should go without saying that Chappelle is not submitting an essay on LGBTQ culture for publication in The New Yorker. That Chappelle is “not a little boy. He’s a grown-ass man.” is true enough. However, my understanding of comedy is that many comedians, to a degree, suffer from a form of permanent adolescence.  It’s kind of what makes them funny. Comedians say the things many in society are thinking, but don’t say, because they’re too busy being respectful and acting like mature adults. Which isn’t to say everyone is privately a bigot and a phobe, it’s to say that we are all flawed and we like to laugh at how ignorant and irrational and immature we can all be sometimes.  And no one should get a pass. Because the minute we start handing out Comedy Exemptions is the minute we start taking ourselves way too seriously and cease to be able to joke about anything at all.

Vox journalist living rent-free inside far left bubble

Many of the Democratic presidential hopefuls and their supporters have been so merrily and comfortably ensconced in their far left bubble that they became somewhat alarmed to discover moderates, centrists and independents skeptical of their pie in the sky promises.  Apparently, instead of a debate, they thought they were lining up last night for a two hour infomercial, becoming a little annoyed when others on the stage began to challenge them. Most notably, Sanders and Warren went after their fellow Democrats for repeating Republican talking points and not dreaming big enough.  In a moment straight out of Trump’s playbook, Sanders even went after the CNN moderators and accused the network of being in bed with big health insurance companies.

As they try to sell their “big ideas,” you could forgive the far left candidates for being dismissive of centrist concerns, but of course some in the media were equally frustrated that moderates were allowed to occupy the same stage as their progressive heroes.  Vox journalist Aaron Rupar weighed in from his parallel reality where any proposal to the right of a complete government take-over of the health insurance industry is viewed as Fox News propaganda. Rupar writes “People who tuned into the Democratic presidential debate could have been forgiven for thinking they accidently turned the channel to Fox News.”  Because only Fox News would ask challenging questions of the Democrats. Other networks are supposed to enable the progressive free-for-all and not get in the way as the candidates make their pitches.  

Echoing Sanders’ complaint of the debate moderators, Rupar takes issue with the line of questioning, “At times during the debate, CNN hosts framed policy questions around Republican talking points.”  That 150 million Americans would lose their current health insurance is a fact, which also makes it a great talking point for Republicans. That the middle class would see a tax increase to pay for Medicare-for-all is also a fact that Sanders has conceded.  Sanders and Rupar frame it as a Republican talking point. Why should Medicare-for-all Democrats be shielded from confronting fact-based questions regarding their healthcare plans? If it is true, as they argue, that healthcare savings will offset any tax increase middle class Americans might incur, then let them make that case now and have an opportunity to hone their message in the coming months.  Better to get your reps in now while not as many people are paying attention and the stakes aren’t so high.  

Of course, other plans to get to universal coverage were offered as well, but to even permit non-Medicare-for-all plans to have a public airing, or to attempt to draw distinctions between candidates is somehow seen as citing the Republican playbook.  “Though no Republicans were physically onstage Tuesday night in Detroit, it too often seemed they were living rent-free inside the moderators’ heads,” Rupar concludes. Too often, it seems as if Rupar’s head is living rent-free inside his rectum. This is the same guy who this past weekend tweeted that Donald Trump claimed to be a 9-11 first responder even as Trump literally said that he wasn’t a 9-11 first responder.  How do you misinterpret that statement to mean the opposite unless you are just willfully living in an alternate reality constructed from ideology rather than plain facts?

AOC policy adviser to put billionaires on public assistance

Apparently America’s billionaire problem is out of control.  It seems like you can’t even walk down the street anymore without tripping over some shady billionaire announcing a new business venture, buying a professional sports team, or giving millions to charitable foundations.  AOC policy adviser Dan Riffle would like to change that. Going by the Twitter title “Every Billionaire is a policy Failure,” Dan has a plan to rid America of its billionaires within our lifetime. In fact, the plan would so thoroughly inoculate the United States from the scourge of billionaires, that most former sufferers would fall helplessly into the massive social safety net created by their absence.

In an interview with Vox, Dan the Policy Man kicks around a federal tax rate that would most effectively relieve a billionaire sufferer of all that needless cash.  His boss, AOC, has floated the idea of a 70 percent top rate. Dan has tweeted that he could talk her up to 90. In the Vox interview, he describes trying to come up with a catchy Twitter name that would succinctly distill his policy position.  He started with, “Tax income over $5 million at 99 percent.” That didn’t roll off the tongue well enough for him. Not because the idea was in any way objectionable, it just wasn’t succinct enough for him. That’s when he came up with the epically memeable “Every Billionaire is a policy Failure.”  You may have caught the EBIAPF Challenge on YouTube, or seen someone wearing the t-shirt. 

Granted, a billion dollars is a lot of money, but Riffle isn’t just talking about taxing the shit out of galactic riches.  When asked to define extreme wealth, he replies, “I don’t know where exactly we can draw the line… But at some point there has to be an upper bound, right?  If you have $5 million, you can live off the interest of that and be a one percenter. There’s nothing in this world that anybody wants or needs to do that you can’t do with, let’s say, $10-$15 million.”  

Riffle has already stated what he’d do to five million, he’d have Uncle Sam take 99 percent.  That leaves the taxpayer with $50,000. Not a bad take home, right? Except that Uncle Sam also withholds for Social Security and Medicare with state and local deducting additional percentage points.  Does it not occur to the policy adviser to U.S Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that, if you take 99% of someone’s income, any additional percent of withholding will leave the taxpayer broke or owing additional taxes for which they have no income remaining?  Even if federal withholding is only 90% – the number he’s going to talk AOC into – that still wipes out the taxpayer’s income for the year, no matter how large that income may be. I guess you have to be a policy adviser in Washington to understand how the math works on that one, because if you’re just seated at your kitchen table, the numbers don’t add up.   

Not content to just tax income, Riffle goes on to suggest forcing owners to divest from their companies, creating “democratic control over society’s resources.”  The idea is to relieve a Bill Gates or a Jeff Bezos of their company’s stock once its value exceeds $10 million. “There’s other ways that you can force the divestiture of an owner of a company once we hit a certain threshold,” Riffle explains.  “Having more democratic control over society’s resources would be helpful, and having more democratic control over a company’s resources would be beneficial for that company as well.” So, in other words, you’ve done really well for yourself here, Jeff, but we’re going to take democratic control of that $100 billion in Amazon stock you own, and we’re going to democratically take over the company you built and control it from here forward.  This sounds a lot like the kind of democracy they used to practice in the German Democratic Republic (the former East Germany), or they currently practice in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). 

If the interviewer can be excused for not pushing back on what seem to be rather extreme policy proposals, it’s because the proposals themselves would almost certainly achieve its stated goal of complete eradication of all American billionaires and multimillionaires within a very short span of time.  They would almost certainly flee for billionaire friendly countries like China, Germany, Russia, Great Britain, India, France, and Canada to name a few nations that seem to be most severely plagued by burdensome billionaires. Once gone we would need to seal our borders against their return, only then could we truly enjoy our riches to rags utopia.

Media releases News Pyramid guidelines, recommends five full servings of bullshit per day

Mainstream media outlets today released their 2019 News Pyramid guidelines for recommended daily allowances of news consumption, and there seems to be agreement among experts on one thing – Americans need more bullshit in their news diet.

“Most mainstream news organizations are recommending Americans get at least five full servings of bullshit per day,” says guidelines contributor Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s Reliable Sources.  

While the guidelines don’t specify between print, television, or social media content, most experts agree cable news is an excellent source of the kind of fact-free, speculative nonsense of which most Americans could benefit.  A healthy diet of bullshit journalism has the additional benefit of providing confirmation of the consumer’s beliefs and ideology, while at the same time pointing out that everyone who doesn’t hold the same views is evil and wrong.

The next level on the News Pyramid calls for four daily servings of partisan propaganda. While most Americans try to avoid eating their propaganda, the report notes the necessity of its daily consumption for the functioning of a healthy democracy.  “Don’t worry if you’re left or right, Republican or Democrat,” the guidelines state, “there’s a news organization out there ready to satisfy your partisan hunger.”

In what signals a change from recent years, the new News Pyramid guidelines raise the recommended daily allowance of conspiracy content from two to three servings per day. Experts warn, however, consumers of news should only get their conspiracy from authoritative sources. Rachel Maddow, Vox, and the New York Times are all considered excellent sources of conspiracy content and should be chosen over the empty, non-authoritative conspiracy musings of YouTube.

“Two ‘hit pieces’ per day are essential to a healthy news diet,” according to the new guidelines.  Some journalists take great pleasure in writing ‘hit pieces’ because they recall an adolescent superficiality and pettiness, so consumers should indulge the writer’s childish impulses by reading them.  Although they can be found at almost every news source, the New Yorker and Vox are exceptionally proficient at this brand of juvenile journalism.

Finally, the news consumer should make sure to save room for at least one serving of Jim Acosta per day.  The new guidelines cite Acosta as that rare guilty pleasure that almost as often becomes the news as reports it.  If news dieters follow these simple recommendations, they can become almost as confused and clueless as some of the journalists who report it.

Vox spends walkout suppressing free speech, burning content and torching YouTube

Vox journalists went into their walkout Thursday riding and endorphin induced euphoria, stemming from their successful campaign to reduce the amount of free speech millions of Americans enjoy.  How better to celebrate their victory than with a content burning bonfire and a strategy session to build on the momentum gained from their latest successful endeavor to suppress free expression?

As the bonfire blazed, Vox journalists patted themselves on the back and felt even more emboldened to demand higher than market wages of Vox management for their successful efforts at internet censorship.  After all, censoring YouTube doesn’t just benefit Vox writers, it has the potential to enhance the company’s bottom line as well.

Vox journalists could barely contain their elation from seeing content creator after content creator on the YouTube platform go up in flames from the fire they had lit. Among the victims were history teachers and academic videos, as well as the work of prominent journalists that sought to educate about hate, not promote it.

Unrepentant and sensing they had their opponents bloodied but not beaten, Vox journalists penned “An open letter to YouTube’s CEO” where they demanded the platform update it’s standards to censor even more speech:

“Without a serious change to YouTube’s interpretation of its standards, Crowder is free to continue to make videos where he hurls slurs at journalists and creators, who will then keep getting hit with the same sort of harassment, invective, and dangerous leaking of personal information that Carlos has continued to experience from Crowder’s fans.”

Apparently, Vox’s bonfire brainstorming session worked, as they hit upon resurrecting the old argument of blaming the content creators for the actions of the consumers of said content.  A stroke of brilliance on the part of Vox journalists, the tactic was once successfully deployed when John Hinckley blamed Jodie Foster and the movie Taxi Driver for his assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan.  (Warning: Vox Millennials, don’t try watching Taxi Driver at home alone, it will trigger the shit out of you.) More importantly, Vox has successfully rallied much of the mainstream media to join it’s effort to torch independent journalists, educators, and content creators.

As the fires subside and the Vox Adpocalypse gives way to a new dawning Voxtopia, the media company has positioned itself nicely to be one of the “authoritative sources” YouTube will now begin directing its traffic toward.  Having successfully punched down on the independent voices of both the marginalised and non-marginalised alike, the required reading of white liberal elites, Vox, can now resume it’s authoritative role as explainer of news and protector of the historically marginalised, who are now free to just shut up and listen.