Info-tainers Faking Journalism

San Jose, CA – The Almost Daily Binx, V.A. Caminiti

It was Sunday night and the sunset was the backdrop for some light reading and a cocktail before deciding what to do for dinner.   We opted for light fare and decided to watch (or at least skim through) some of the Sunday morning news talk that we had recorded.  This was not a good idea nor a particularly good digestive aid.

All the News that's fit to miss

All the News that's fit to miss

First up was Meet the Press with David Gregory.  Mr. Gregory is one of those that seem afflicted with inappropriate facial expressions – a Monty Python sketch if ever there was.  I’m hopeful this is not a medical condition but rather a bout of conscience taking place while he’s interviewing.  In the latest episode of this veteran info-tainer’s race away from journalism, Gregory squandered an opportunity to ask President Obama important and relevant questions in place of positing ridiculous mis-quotes and strange conclusions, yet managing to intone an interrogative.   Not only is it distracting, it truly becomes bizarre when Gregory starts suppressing a sardonic smile mid-question as he trolls the waters of conversation trying to get the President to bite on the racism bait.  Obama won’t and Gregory and his ilk are determined to get him to bite – because – there is big media money in racism.

More disturbing though is the casual nature in which Gregory approaches speaking to the President of the United States.  One would believe it to be a talk show with the President hawking a book – instead of a Network News broadcast featuring a very lucky reporter getting to ask the President some tough questions.  And to that end, this is the thrust of my objection.  How could you waste an interview with the President of the United States with such terrible, ill prepared questions ??  How could you squander the opportunity to ask follow-up questions in a one-on-one interview ??  Was this about you and your career ??  Was this about you and your media exposure ??

Regrettably, I fear the answer is obvious – that’s Info-tainment.  Following the interview was Minority Leader Boehner and Sen Lindsey Graham with a further explanation that no racism exists in the USA – a particularly poignant claim more believable from the heavily bronzed Boehner than the pasty South Carolinian – both of whom claim no connection to the wing-nuttery of their national party chairman who has been repeatedly hurling undignified insults at the President.

After the Gregory botched opportunity it was time to check out George Stephanopoulos’ interviewing skills.  It didn’t seem possible that Gregory would have competition for the worst squandered moment in interview history but George managed to do it.  Repeated questions about the President’s critics instead of the President’s vision.

Stephanopoulos, though, managed to take it to a new low by repeatedly

Please begin to answer my question so I can interrupt you ...

Please begin to answer my question so I can interrupt you ...

interrupting the President of the United States, like an impatient pooch that wants to go out and chew on the mailman.  To top off this unpleasant departure from journalism, Stephanopoulos began to sound annoyed that President wasn’t biting on his tabloid-styled interrogatives – clearly meant to create ‘sound bites’  for the ideologues to surf like the Big Kahuna rather than a genuine examination of President Obama’s vision and detailed challenging questions thereof.

The constant interruptions were handled with aplomb by the President, although at times, he seemed as shocked as me as to just how shallow and misleading the questions were to the central burning points.  Not a single question about the mechanisms of finance as it pertains to health care; not a single challenge as to the actual philosophies that drive the reform; not a single solitary follow- up question.  Just sound-bitey stuff from an uncomfortable twitchy and squirmy info-tainer who believes his mother’s claim that he’s the smartest boy in the world.   Another wasted opportunity that any journalism major, irrespective of stripe, would have ventured their eye-teeth to score.

Following the non-interview interview of President Obama came the round table discussion with Stephanopoulos, George Will, Peggy Noonan, Bob Reich, Ed Gillespie and Donna Brazile.  Viewers were treated to the political framing of info-tainer George Will, now unable to contain his dyspepsia in the feeling that his conservative  banner has been stolen by wing-nuts and his career decision to disagree with any Liberal thought, even if it proves to be a good idea.

Let's make funny faces while the others talk.

Let's make funny faces while the others talk.

The others all chimed-in throughout the limited broadcast with their team song – however Peggy Noonan is hell bent on staying in the headlines.  In this episode, she decided she would characterize the President as being boorish in his attempts to use the media to advance Health care.  But if that wasn’t strange enough, Noonan erupted into a series of head-nodding, eye exercises and the oddest facial expressions while Reich was taking his turn. However, the topper was when she began moving her lips as other’s were talking.  Now, certainly if this were the result of Tourettes or some other medical disorder, we’d know, after all the woman seeks these public appearances for compensation.  My guess though, is that she’s just about completely made the transition into the happy place where journalists who have decided to sell-out and become part of the problem and work the media financial turbine as info-tainers.  Plus the fact, there’s ample circumstantial observations that she’s just plain nuts.

No follow-up questions ??  Is this possible.  Certainly.  This isn’t journalism.  Journalists have follow-ups.  These are info-tainers.  They have a tickler list and essentially aren’t doing any listening – just talking.  Alex Trebeck delivers more probative value when he introduces the contestants on Jeopardy than Gregory or Stephanopoulos.

Well, why stop there … as long as this stroll down info-tainment lane has already proved to be quite an appetite suppressant, let’s give Fox a whirl just to see what the co-creators of info-tainment are up to.  No surprise here, including vignettes from  the recent past.  Earlier in the week Bill O’Reilly decried he was being quoted improperly and illegitimately by the Left, who were spreading rumors that he allegedly broad-casted support of a public option.  Of course, after listening and relistening to the segment of his broadcast that allegedly contained the misinformation – O’Reilly clearly said he was for a public option. It is indisputable – that is what he said – yet – he’s disputing it.  Now it’s party time because Up is not only Up it is also Down in O’Reillyville.

Why is everybody always pick'n on me?

Why is everybody always pick'n on me?

Next, Fox News Sunday – where Chris Wallace, who’s been taking pot shots at Obama since before the inauguration; and recently permitted Sean Hannity to outright lie when he purposefully and willfully mis-characterized the President’s words on a Speech that Fox declined to carry –  whined and whined and whined that the White House didn’t agree to any Fox interviews.

Mr. Wallace has adopted a strategy that some of my relatives used to advance; whereby the bizarre behavior of an insulting avuncular figure was attributed to his affection for the object of his abuse.  So considering this barely conceivable shard of behavioral detritus, Chris Wallace is furious that the President isn’t returning his calls with love and has been throwing a temper tantrum for at least three days.

Add to the Fox line-up an array of characters that could form their own comic book  genre, former disgraced Clinton administration adviser Dick Morris – losing his breath screeching anti-Obama remarks irrespective of the logic or lack thereof; the very indictable Karl Rove – apparently in a parallel universe; and the sad-eyed Britt Hume – who mastered speaking while clearing his throat through an entire broadcast.  A line-up dedicated to disgracing Americans around the world with unprecedented interference and engagement in promoting dissonance and dishonesty in reporting and actually creating news events.  That’s info-tainment !!!

The FOX Tea Party – Right Wing Extremists Gone Wild

Tea Party - Owned and Operated by FOX

Tea Party - Owned and Operated by FOX

Fools Rush In

Are you amazed?  Are you stunned?  Are you able to wrap any thought around the fact that Americans, after permitting the eight years of ideologues to dismantle the Constitution, shred the Bill of Rights and throw civil liberties somewhere in the pre-Magna Carta time-line – would rally in these tea parties?

Now one must understand that almost every single one of the people engaging in these protests have done so at the urging of some influencial figure. They are unhappy and are exercising their right to protest.   It could be anyone, but mostly it was the National promotion by the entire FOX broadcast flotilla of jetsam that has actually sponsored this activity.  Nonetheless, FOX cannot be blamed for the fact that these pockets of dissidents are the ideal dissidents if you must have dissidents; simply because, they are acting against their own best interests.  According to the US GAO, the tax burden of most Americans will be reduced by the current Administrations actions.  That’s right – 95% of American taxpayers receive tax relief under the new plan.  But those are just facts.  This isn’t about facts.  This is about mass hypnosis.

The Usual Suspects

Gingrich - Never at a loss for words even when alone.

Gingrich - Never at a loss for words even when alone.

Gingrich, formerly King-of-the-Hill; presently, disgraced former House Speaker rants about the organic and spontaneous Tea Party.  What he omitted was the fact that the Tea Party concept was adopted by the Neo-Con loyalists with the intent of getting in the news … period.    FOX News Corps unrestrained grip on masses of uninformed and mal informed Americans is staggering , and Gingrich, as a bench player for  FOX news saw not only task but the potential to grab headlines.

hannity_coulter1“Nattering Nabobs of Negativity”

Singing back-up for Gingrich on the FOX broadcast monopoly are Jingo Singers Hannity and Coulter.  Hannity even went as far as to travel to Atlanta to host and further align himself with the misguided but highly touted tea party.

But what was the draw?  Certainly protest is the bedrock of Democracy so why the ridiculous and ineffective execution of a Nationally teleported uprising ?  Simple, it was an uprising of people who are unhappy – and were led by the nose and spirit to stand and protest a rise in taxes that will not effect them – so actually, it was more of  a magic show than it was a protest.  And so the tea-party might have better been described as FOX News – Masters of Illusion.

Nothing to See Here … Move Along

Now that's a tea party !!

Now that's a tea party !!

Not to mention the ill advised use of the term tea-bagging as muted laughter could be heard across the nation – but the fact that there was nothing to hear, nothing to see, no ideas bing advanced that could be used to educate or inspire a reasoned discourse truly contributes to the lampooning this misguided and ineffective protest has spawned.  Futher it is encouraged by The Lost – the lost Neo-Cons that are still roaming the halls of Congress, FOX News and 1000’s of radio outlets across the world while further soiling themselves and the landscape – figuratively and literally.

The Right Continues to Get It Wrong

by V.A. Caminiti, The Almost Daily Binx
US Senator James Inhofe - R-OK

US Senator James Inhofe - R-OK

Enough Inhofe

Don’t believe for second that the criticism launched by Sen. Inhofe while standing on foreign soil against sitting US President Barack Obama was an gaffe.  However, consider it not only an act of enormous un-American tenor; but also revealing of the desperation and reckless mindset of the humanoid debris still remaining in the US Congress.  It was a breath-taking display of disrespect for Americans by another of the  Rush Limbaugh suck-up Pol-stitutes.

These despicable acts are not acts of free-speech.  Free-speech is protected under our Constitution.  These are acts, that anyone with modicum of civics understands, are historically treasonous in and at another time were punishable by extreme methods.

Even an apology shouldn’t preclude the citizens of Oklahoma calling for ‘Senator-for-Hire’ Inhofe to cease representing them in the US Senate.  This the man that helped dismantle the US Interior Department and assisted in converting it to a petroleum company lobbying lounge for the Bush Administration.  A grossly uninformed zealot that joked about the climate change on the floor of the Senate and is quoted numerous times at odds with what is customarily considered sanity.

Hannity – Insanity

Sean Hannity - Fox Info-tainer

Sean Hannity - Fox Info-tainer

As though they needed cheerleaders, Inhofe and his ilk have a line up of unsavory characters that have come from the Roger Ailes school of  ‘Rile-the-Mouth-Breathers’ which is championed by the likes of Sean Hannity.  His rantings on radio and television are the mating call of terminally mis-informed.  Routinely, and I say this with all due deference and whatever respect is possible, he lies.  Not little fibby lies.  Huge lies.  His latest was probably the source of Inhofe’s anti-American tirade, by claiming that President Obama had decimated the military budget, when in fact the military budget in the new administration’s work with Sec’y Gates, increases military spending by4%.

By simply omitting the facts and replacing with figments of their imagination, Inhofe and buddy Hannity are able to get the knuckle draggers who listen to them to begin objecting.  And, as anyone who understands disruption messaging – that’s all the want.  You understand, right?  This is a marketing practice and propaganda tool – not random mistakes or gaffes.  It’s all connected to the same thing that Eric Cantor is implementing on the floor of the House of Representatives.  Disruption to serve the Party. Sound kind of Orwellian ?  It is.

It doesn’t matter if Inhofe or Hannity are your relatives. It certainly doesn’t matter to Newt Gingrich’s sister who has routinely called him out for his purposeful lies routinely.  These are not good guys.  They are hired guns of the Right – the extreme right.

Fox News: Terrorism as Revenue Stream – Innuendo as an Artform

Terror-fi-cation by Innuendo

carefully engineered stream of propaganda that is designed to dissuade the viewer from leaving the confines and comfort of the Fox News family of advertisers.

If you’re a Fox News watcher – you may not realize how severely fact-challenged you’ve become.  In fact,  you may not realize that your opinion isn’t a product of your own cognitive reasoning, but rather the purposeful result of a continuous stream of marketing and mis-information that has been irradiating your psyche with the sole intent of conditioning you to point of addiction to Fox’s “News-like” appearance, although there is no evidence that Fox News actually practices any legitimate journalism.

That is to say, Fox gives the impression of a news organization by featuring some names that have been associated with journalism, but what they deliver is a carefully engineered stream of propaganda that is designed to dissuade the viewer from leaving the confines and comfort of the Fox News family of advertisers.

It’s Not the Viewer’s Fault

with the occasional fact used as a condiment.

The Fox News subliminal drone of ‘Fair & Balanced’ is the equivalent of “The People’s Republic” in the Chinese National handle.  It is an impression, that is to say, it represents what they want one to believe without the pesky inconvenience or risk of actually being rooted in fact.

It is accomplished by giving you implied ownership with slogan’s uttered by professional teleprompter readers or actors posing as journalistic types.  Comments such as, “We’ll be right back – Fox – your balanced news source!”  Graphics carrying similar declarations  precede and end segments and are used as transitional devices for remotes.  When these aren’t useful, continuous screen crawls imbued with the slogans are continuously making their way past one’s consciousness and penetrate the fact / fiction border in the manner of guerrilla warriors taking cover with the occasional fact used as a condiment.

Sean Hannity – Voice of America ?? – Really ??

while the other group is power hammered into believing that the bar has been lowered so much – that anyone can earn 5 Million a year by talking … poop.

If you have ever wondered how Sean Hannity is gainfully employed in broadcast journa-talkism ??  Then you’re not a Fox News addict yet.  But don’t disregard these seemlingly harmless hawker of innuendo and fictionalized fact over which he presides.  He’s extremely effective.  If nothing else, he inspires hope in a flotilla of viewers that are factually lost at sea.  He epitomizes the celebrated demographic delta of morbid curiosity and ‘if he can do it, anyone can do it’ among its customers.  The former pinned to the television to see if Hannity will terminally lodge his foot in is mouth, while the other group is power hammered into believing that the bar has been lowered so much – that anyone can earn 5 Million a year by talking … poop.  And who’s to say this isn’t true in the face of – well – his face on the television and matter of fact cadence of information that as a matter of fact – isn’t constrained by … facts.  Here’s a sample of when Hannity is even ruled to be ‘off-the-rails’ by the inventor of ‘off-the-rails’ politics – Newt Gingrich.

Brit Hume – Inspired by Nigel Bruce

… puppy dog eyes and the beginnings of distinguished jowels, belches the news…

One of the more comical masters of innuendo is noted for trailing off ends of sentences into indiscernable mumblings that may or may not be relevant to the underlying stories.  In memorable yet exceedlingly unimportant newscasts, Hume mystifies the viewer into forgetting that his bitterness and cynicism have merged yielding an automaton who can read commentary as though it were news – and without as much as a flinch – can conclude a barrage of misinformation with a punctiliously crafted – “and that’s the fair and balanced news.”  Not unlike Nigel Bruce’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes’ partner in crime detecting, Dr. John Watson – the mere mention of Brit Hume inspires as autonomic reaction of throat clearing with simultaneous smirk.  It’s really just a matter of conditioning.

Brit Hume, with puppy dog eyes and the beginnings of distinguished jowels, belches the news irrespective of fact, along with the ‘Usual Suspects’ such as Fred Barnes, Juan Williams and the late Tony Snow – all equally capable making the average person hurl their shoes at a television screen.

NeoCons, Bushies and Terror – The Mother Lode of Demographics

…impression of insight, even though it was all military grade … bunk.

Fox News has built an empire by being the pitch team for the shareholders of the current Administration.  Now shareholders are distinct from stakeholders (which would be the rest of us) inasmuch as the shareholders operate on getting a return.  Think of this as institutional advertising for the big picture.

Remember when a few months ago, it was revealed that the Pentagon had on their payroll, retired war-mongers armed with talking-points, that were posing as Network analysts with insight. Fox News launched the venue.  Did you ever wonder why the networks didn’t make a big deal about this obvious scam ??  Simple.   They sought these people in order to be in step with Fox News – who simply chummed the broadcast waters while CNN, MSNBC, CBS News, ABC News and the plethora of repackaged versions of the same – begged to have military experts adorn the little boxes on the TV as though every newscast were The Hollywood Squares.  They just coudn’t resist having a retired generals and even colonels, pepper their broadcasts with the impression of insight, even though it was all military grade … bunk.

Bill O’Reilly, Fox & Friends and the other Cartoons

Steve Doocy …  ostensibly in fulfillment of his contract with Fox and we find it a singularly disheartening sell-out of values.

Frankly, Bill O’Reilly is commentary.  From a purely American perspective, this is Free Speech. Which means that there are plenty of others that are making good careers making fun of, writing books about or drawing caricatures of O’Reilly in sufficient abundance, that we’re not going to devote much real estate to him. While personally, we may agree that he is a buffoon – he’s uniquely American inasmuch as he has a huge following of buffoons, much the same way as a light bulb attracts gnats and moths on a summer night.  A man whose oratory skills and intolerable speaking style drives one to truly appreciate closed-captioning.

Steve Doocy, formerly a journalist, decided to abandon the craft for talky-newsy endeavors, despite his education.  This individual may be the most troubling of all the FOX family for a few reasons. First, it is our impression that he is a genuinely nice person that only plays an idiot on TV.  Secondly, he knows better.  He knows what innuendo is and he knows that he’s doing his bit simply for a pay-check.  While it’s great to take care of one’s family and to be gainfully employed – and to that end – this is a family man and good soul – How does he rise each day and shill for a deeply dark abyss of morality, and return to his family with pride?  We have an answer – although not a very nice one – simple greed.  Truly a disappointment.

To be clear, it isn’t our intention to suggest that by not agreeing with our particular point of view constitutes shame.  In fact, we find contention a valuable use of time.  Discussing, even arguing strategy, tactics and better courses for American prosperity and values.  However, we’ve heard the series of barely audible and rarely understandable talking points delivered by Doocy at the required intervals, ostensibly in fulfillment of his contract with Fox and we find it a singularly disheartening sell-out of values.