Sunday, January 15, 2017

Weak Media Hurts America

Meaning It's Also A World Problem
Especially for Cuba!!
      When posters like the one above first began to appear, no one gave Donald Trump a chance to be elected President of the United States. But this week -- on Friday, Jan. 20th, 2017 -- he indeed will be inaugurated as the 45th U. S. President. But it seems there are always exceptions to the rule, in this case a person who knew things most of us did't know. A Bronx-born Canadian writer named Jim Moriorty seemed to know something early-on. He wrote: "In this election the egregious machinations by the disgusting alliance of the media, the DNC and Wall Street has demonstrated for all to see how deeply corrupt and entitled the ruling classes are. The swamp needs draining." Indeed, the disgusting alliances Moriorty mentioned elevated Trump above 16 Republican challengers and then the world watched in awe on Nov. 8-2016 as he beat the well-heeled, well-established Clinton dynasty to attain the most coveted and most powerful office in the world. Of course, in the closing hours of the campaign, Hillary Clinton tilted the final edges to Trump; she hobnobbed with ultra-celebs such as Beyonce, Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen while Trump wisely ignored celebs, New York and California and stumped solely in the smaller, more American Rust Belt states. Then Mrs. Clinton sealed his and her deals when she declared that the Trump supporters were "a basket of deplorables." They weren't; for the most part they were Americans trying desperately to reclaim their democracy. Trump quickly, once elected, betrayed that trust when his transition team became over-loaded with long-ago remnants of the Bush dynasty, including seven vicious anti-Cuban propagandists and lobbyists, which is not exactly draining the swamp in Washington but, instead, the first signs of an imminent Cold or Hot War across the Florida Straits. But Moriarty's hint that a terribly biased mainstream U. S. media, Wall Street and the out-of-touch elite class could put Trump in the White House was insightful...wasn't it? And I like insights.   
      Remember in the not-too-distant past when truly great broadcast journalists like Walter Cronkite were America's primary source for news? Mr. Cronkite and his contemporaries would actually not only cover the news but also actually tell us "the way it is," or "was." Well, it's not like that anymore, is it? In one generation, great broadcast journalism on three competitive over-the-air networks -- CBS, NBC and ABC -- has evolved into a totally non-competitive mish-mash of cable network propaganda machines -- nothing more and nothing less. That undeniable fact might not be a major come-down in a dictatorship or Banana Republic but rest assured it is gigantically deleterious in the world's greatest and most influential international democracy.
       The image above reflects the sharp departure from the halcyon days of the Walter Cronkite-era to the utter pits for "broadcast journalism" today, with CNN the biggest disappointment for reasons that date back almost four decades. In 1980 the visionary Ted Turner founded CNN as the first cable news network. His intention was to hire and train the best broadcast journalists and cover the news fairly wherever it might occur. It worked magnificently for a time, till Turner sold out to billionaires at AOL. But Turner's brainchild soon evolved into other cable news outfits -- most notably Fox and MSNBC -- owned by other billionaires interested in only making more billions. Later, all three major cable "news" outlets realized their virtual monopolies allowed them to become propaganda machines with supposedly captive audiences. So today Fox is a right-wing propaganda machine, MSNBC is a left-wing propaganda machine, and CNN is a politically and socially correct propaganda machine now leaning sharply leftward. Thus, no longer do they even make a pretense of hiring broadcast journalists; instead, they only hire propagandists known as pundits. Therefore, instead of even making a pretense of covering the news, all you get today from broadcast journalism are, yes, a fake anchor and his/her pundits as indicated above. So, hour-after-inane-hour Americans are supposed to so addicted or so stupid as to listen to inane questions like, "But should he not hit back if someone attacks him, or if he thinks something is inappropriate? Why shouldn't he hit back?" And then hour-after-inane-hour an endless array of propaganda pundits provide their propaganda, self-serving answers...pundits who appear not as intelligent and surely not as fair as most Americans. Meanwhile, out in the real world, news is actually happening...news that Americans need, and badly want, to know about.
Ted Turner's visions for CNN were bold and worthwhile.
        On CNN and the other cable "news" networks "BREAKING NEWS" is NOW A JOKE with prime-time saturated only with professional propaganda pundits. The typical punditry above insults broadcasting.
        To be sure, CNN in the honorable tradition of its long-gone visionary founder Ted Turner has some superb talent in its international section -- such as the truly brilliant broadcast journalist Clarissa Ward who was hired in September of 2015. But she and CNN's other best talent -- such as Christiane Amanpour, Arwa Damon, Oren Lieberman, Becky Anderson, Atika Shubert, Nina dos Santos, Jim Bittermann, Phil Black, etc. -- are all mostly wasted and seen, with extremely rare exceptions, only in early A. M. pre-dawn hours. Prime Time, with few exceptions, is reserved solely for pundit-introducing teleprompter-reading anchors such as Erin Burnett, Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon. Wasting a really true broadcast journalist like Clarissa Ward in favor of professional propaganda pundits shames broadcast journalism, America and democracy.
       The mainstream U. S. media coverage of Cuba-related news, of course, is extremely and even laughably biased with apparently both written and unwritten rules that mandate and dictate that only vicious counter-revolutionary zealots are allowed to report on Cuban issues. CNN's Miami-based correspondent and Cuban-American counter-revolutionary Boris Sanchez is {above} merely an example. It appears that the last Cuban-American broadcast journalist to report fairly about Cuba in Miami...or elsewhere...was Emilio Milian, and he was car-bombed in 1976 for such bravery and audacity. As far as I know, since then neither Miami nor America as a whole has had a broadcast journalist reporting fairly on Cuban topics. And that apparent fact, I believe, is far more injurious and insulting to the United States and democracy than it is to Cuba and...IN FACT...probably helps account for the unanimous 191-to-0 worldwide denunciation of America's Cuban policy in the UN. When CNN allows a Boris Sanchez to report on Cuban topics without disclosing his anti-Cuban bias it is knowingly perpetrating the industry's propaganda tilt.  
  But, like a vaccine that cures an illness, great Editorial Cartoonists like Dana Summers at Tribune Content Agency largely make up for the depths to which the mainstream United States propaganda media has sunk in both its broadcast and print forms. I'll give you some Dana Summers examples to illustrate my point.
      With this gem Dana Summers is telling us that voters actually had no chance of sanely making a choice or having a choice in the almost interminable two-year, two-billion-dollar presidential election process. The length and money is clearly unique to the U. S. and obviously designed to enrich the candidates, the networks, the ad agencies, the pundits, and the lobbyists while ravaging the voters, most of whom didn't vote and most of those who did admitted they had to choose between "the lesser of two evils." As Mr. Summers opines, that is not exactly what the Founding Fathers had in mind in 1776 when they crafted the world's best form of government, which they knew depended on an honestly informed U. S citizenry.
       Across the Atlantic pond in England, Dana Summers reminds us that the British democracy also has its problems with entrenched politicians and media. In the UK, as in the US, politicians preach about working together for "the good of the country." On both sides of the Atlantic, the people now laugh at such absurd propaganda, so maybe the U. S. inherited such ridiculousness from its Mother country.
      With this classic, Dana Summers is telling us that neither the UK nor the US democracies should be saddled with dynasties or the evils of nepotism. In the U. S. the recent Clinton and Bush dynasties have established wide ranges of repetitious political losers -- both elected and appointed -- that prevented fresher and better candidates to emerge. In other words, candidates get elected by selling their souls and votes to the highest bidders and, once in office, that's how they remain incumbents. In the U. S. in recent years hundreds of similarly elected incumbents have often left office only to work as high-paid lobbyists for the same donors who elected them and kept them in office in the first place. The recent presidential election proved that U. S. voters, bless their ever-loving hearts, tried desperately but in vain to save their democracy from such an entrenched, established and money-crazed cancer...but instead of reelecting another Bush or Clinton the maze elected the unpopular and unqualified Donald Trump as President.
          This is one of Dana Summers' all-time gems. It shows the joyous reunion in heaven of Margaret Thatcher, the former conservative British Prime Minister, with Ronald Reagan, America's former conservative President. When they were the world's two most important leaders on earth, Ronnie and Margaret were the best of friends and, uh...colluders...on conservative issues that greatly affected the world, for better or worse and, of course, in Cuba and Latin America it was for the worse because it spurred brutal right-wing dictators. {The same, of course, could be said for former President George W. Bush and his former old conservative cronies -- such as Tony Blair, Alvaro Uribe and Vincente Fox. None of them are in heaven yet but, mostly out of the spotlight, their anti-Cuban vendettas continue to have gross effects}.
      This is an absolute Dana Summers classic. One thing the much-harangued American voters managed to accomplish in the recent money-crazed, media-mauled presidential quagmire was to stop or at least put a snag in the Bush political dynasty. Despite backed by the requisite billion-plus-dollars, Jeb Bush's "I'm my own man" was quashed quickly and as easily as smashing an egg. Even with the limitless Bush money-machine and age-old advisers behind him, Jeb was one of the first of the 17 Republican candidates to be sent unceremoniously packing. That was the best thing to happen in the campaign for innocent Cuban children on the island, at least till President-elect Donald Trump's transition team quickly included seven key advisors regarding Cuba AND ALL SEVEN are counter-revolutionary zealots from the Bush dynasty.
       But Dana Summers penned the very best narrative -- utilizing just five words -- to explain the difference between the outgoing Cuba-friendly Obama presidency and the incoming Trump presidency. Study his Editorial Cartoon above. For Cuba and perhaps the world it is a difference that well might be equal to the chasm between sanity and insanity or war and peace, especially where Cuba is concerned. Trump, even prior to assuming office on January 20th, declared war on Cuba in a speech in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood in front of a huge Brigade 2506 banner, with that being the still very viable unit that attacked Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in April of 1961. While the mainstream U. S. media has neither the guts nor the integrity to say so, Trump's Little Havana speech declared war on Cuba on behalf of the long-ousted {1959} Batistianos who quickly got reconstituted on U. S. soil two unfortunate generations ago. Dana Summers in the above classic shows the divergence and soon-to-be collision of the Obama-Trump policies regarding Cuba. Obama has done a yeoman job trying to normalize relations with Cuba for the benefit of Americans, Cubans, Cuban-Americans and the world, a world that supports Obama's decent Cuban policies by a resounding 191-to-0 margin in the United Nations. Trump, meanwhile, has already bowed to the greed and revenge of a handful of Miami and Congressional anti-Cuban zealots. As Dana Summers points out above, President Obama is using even his final few days in office to try to prevent President-elect Trump from declaring either a Cold War or a Hot War on innocent Cubans, especially their precious children.
I'll end with the ominous color photo below:
       This photo is courtesy of Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press. It shows a beautiful Russian journalist proudly holding up a portrait-montage depicting -- left to right -- Russian leader Vladimir Putin, France's right-wing leader Marine Le Pen and America's soon-to-be leader Donald Trump. The photo got omnipotent international exposure not just because of the pretty Russian but because it was taken when Putin held his annual year-end news conference back in December. The Russian journalist in the red outfit is bragging about what she apparently feels IS the new World Order led by three prime, or perceived, right-wing leaders. Russia, the U. S. and France -- she reminds us -- happen to be the three world-leaders in nuclear warheads with about 7,300 for Russia, about 6,970 for the U. S. and a much smaller but significant 300+ for France, and all have sophisticated air, land and sea delivery systems. Also, these are the three biggest sellers of weapons in the world, led by the U. S. at about $40 billion last year with France next at about $15 billion and Russia in that neighborhood as a weapons seller and supplier. The Russian female journalist above is typical of the Russian people who strongly support their controversial leader, Mr. Putin, with an approval rating hovering around 85%. Russia is not only a nuclear superpower but its landmass is still huge and the Russian people, as would-be conquerors like Napoleon and Hitler discovered to their chagrin, will fight to the death to defend Mother Russia. After the collapse of the Soviet Union to start the decade of the 1990s, Russians credit Putin with putting their country back at or near the top of the international power spectrum. Before making war on little harmless Cuba, the unpredictable Trump might want to start by asking that beautiful Russian journalist why she is so fond of Putin, Le Pen AND HIM. Hey! I'd like to hear her answer too...and her shiny vision of a new World Order.
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