“It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.” -Voltaire
Is there a name for days when several news stories all come together to highlight come glaring inconsistencies about how events are reported, different groups are treated differently and how deeply ingrained a kind of conventional wisdom is in American culture and institutions.
To start is the news producer who was fired for holding up a sign at a OWS protest – How Occupy Wall Street Cost Me My Job
My boyfriend, Will, and I decided to take Friedersdorf’s words and use them, perhaps more literally than he intended. We printed them out, taped them to poster board, and headed to the Occupy Wall Street march in Times Square, on October 15. The plan was for Will to hold the sign, and for me to observe what happened and post reports to my personal Twitter account. (Video of Will attracting attention with the sign before I did is on your right, or click here to watch it.) But, inevitably, Will developed sign-holding fatigue, and I took over momentarily. I was standing beneath a news ticker near West 43rd Street and Broadway, and people began cheering as a headline about the movement scrolled across the ticker. I looked up, and at that moment a photographer took a photo of me holding the sign, and posted it to Twitter shortly thereafter.
What Caitlin E. Curran did is certainly participatory journalism. What she thought would be a good segment for a morning program – the sign and how people reacted. Note there was no intention on her part to claim she was doing a completely detached objective piece of reporting. It was not her intention of passing off her actions as unbiased. How could she. It was quite obvious that what anyone would have seen or listened to was what she did, why, what the crowd’s reaction was.
The next day, The Takeaway’s general manager fired me over the phone, effective immediately. He was inconsolably angry, and said that I had violated every ethic of journalism, and that this should be a “teaching moment” for me in my career as a journalist. The segment I had pitched, of course, would not happen. Ironically, the following day Marketplace did pretty much the exact segment I thought would have been great on The Takeaway, with Kai Ryssdal discussing the sign and the Goldman Sachs deal it alluded to in terms that were far from neutral.
So her boss uses her story, but fires her for creating the story. We live in an age where Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Jonah Goldberg, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh all call themselves journalists who are “fair and balanced”. Sure the hypocrisy of those examples is clear enough, but in a hilarious post TBogg – If It Weren’t For Double Standards, We’d Have No Standards At All – reminded me of Glenn Greenwald’s profile of “news” reporter Erin Burnett – Erin Burnett: Voice of the People
On her new CNN show on Monday night, host Erin Burnett was joined by Rudy Giuliani’s former speechwriter John Avlon and together they heaped condescending scorn on the Wall Street protests while defending the banking industry, offering — as FAIR documented — several misleading statements along the way. Burnett “reported” that while she “saw dancing, bongo drums, even a clown” at the protest, the participants “did not know what they want,” except that “it seems like people want a messiah leader, just like they did when they anointed Barack Obama.” She featured a video clip of herself explaining to one of the protesters that the U.S. Government made money from TARP, and then demanded to know if that changed his negative views of Wall Street.
This is far from the first time Burnett has served as spokesperson for Wall Street; it’s basically what her “journalistic” career is. She angered Bill Maher a couple years ago when arguing that the rich have suffered along with the poor and middle class as part of the financial crisis, and that it would be wrong to “soak the rich” because they’re already paying so much taxes. She caused Rush Limbaugh to gush over her when she argued on TV in 2007 that all Americans benefit when the rich get richer: “the majority of Americans directly benefit from what happens on Wall Street,” she proclaimed, just over a year before the financial collapse.
Curran did not tell the world or give her audience the impression she was going to do an objective study of OWS and file a report accordingly without reviling her point of view. Burnett on the other hand presents herself, as do her employers, as a straight up news reporter. As of Glenn’s writing Burnett was engaged to a big bank executive. She started her business career as a financial analyst for worldwide investment banking and securities firm Goldman Sachs. Burnett later became Vice President of Citigroup/CitiMedia.
Would it ever occur to CNN that perhaps a former Wall Street banker at Goldman Sachs, currently engaged to a Citigroup executive, might not be the best person to cover those protests? Of course not: that’s exactly the bias that makes her such an appropriate choice in the eyes of her Time Warner bosses.
I don’t think Burnett can claim dumb or naive when she states to Vanity Fair, CNBC’s Erin Burnett Doesn’t Think All Rich People Are Evil
We’ve heard a lot about how some banks and companies are “too big to fail.” I’m not sure I understand that reasoning. Weren’t the dinosaurs too big to fail? The Titanic was too big to fail. The Galactic Empire in the Star Wars trilogy was definitely too big to fail. Isn’t everything bloated and evil and stupid too big to fail before it inevitably fails?
(Burnett) Whoa. (Long pause.) The irony of this whole crisis is that all of the banks that were too big to fail got a lot bigger. J.P. Morgan bought Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual. Bank of America got Merrill. Bank of America and J.P. Morgan have really gotten a lot bigger. I’m not sure what you can do to prevent that. No matter what the legislation does, if something is incredibly big, it’s very hard to put in assurances and preventative measures in advance that would prevent it from actually causing massive damage when it fails.
What a convenient case of suddenly does not have a clue. What could you do so that the US would not have too big to fail banks. Gee, how about bringing back the Glass-Steagall Act. You know the Act that is actually pro healthy competition , pro capitalism and protects consumers, investors and the average American household. I guess knowing that is too much to expect from a financial expert and completely unbiased financial reporter. One that has not lost her job for blatant bias in reporting.
More strange inconsistency – Boehner Demands $2 Billion for Ohio Plant After Solyndra
House Speaker John Boehner attacked the Obama administration for financing failed solar-panel maker Solyndra LLC, saying government shouldn’t pick winners and losers. That hasn’t stopped him from demanding that the U.S. make a winner of a nuclear-fuel plant in Ohio, his home state.
Boehner is backing a $2 billion Energy Department loan guarantee sought by USEC Inc. (USU) for its American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio, aimed at enriching uranium for commercial nuclear reactors.
“When it comes to emerging energy technologies, the Republicans don’t want to pick winners and losers — unless it’s nuclear power,” Ellen Vancko, nuclear energy and climate-change project manager in the Washington office of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in an interview.
If John Boehner(R-OH) likes it, the project deserves government money and guarantees. What he likes also happens to be nuclear, non-alternative energy, a business in his state and to an industry that gives most of its contributions to conservatives. American Centrifuge will likely get its money. Obama has previously promised the money, has pushed nuclear energy, it is in Ohio and it is election time.
USEC’s political action committee has given $10,000 to committees supporting Boehner since 2010, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
In an interview with Fox Business Network on Sept. 19, Boehner said that “for the federal government to be out there picking one company over another, one type of energy source over another. I think is wrong.”
Remember that conservatives keep telling us that government does not create jobs. Furthermore, depending on what day it is or what state or where Boehner is getting his checks from – “for the federal government to be out there picking one company over another, one type of energy source over another. I think is wrong.” I know and have become accustomed to the fact the conservative movement has values that are as pliable as play-dough and as consistent as the wind direction. Standards for conservatives are whatever they think they should be depending on the situation. They have the same kind of situational ethics that Erin Burnett and CNN have.
They say what goes around comes around – Officers Jeer at Arraignment of 16 Colleagues in Ticket-Fixing Investigation
As 16 police officers were arraigned at State Supreme Court in the Bronx, incensed colleagues organized by their union cursed and taunted prosecutors and investigators, chanting “Down with the D.A.” and “Ray Kelly, hypocrite.”
As the defendants emerged from their morning court appearance, a swarm of officers formed a cordon in the hallway and clapped as they picked their way to the elevators. Members of the news media were prevented by court officers from walking down the hallway where more than 100 off-duty police officers had gathered outside the courtroom.
The assembled police officers blocked cameras from filming their colleagues, in one instance grabbing lenses and shoving television camera operators backward.
The unsealed indictments contained more than 1,600 criminal counts…
It’s OK for the police to shove, block and yell – engage in rowdy protests. It is OK for them to block the media from filming and reporting on police corruption. They also get to engage in this behavior without being maced, kicked, suffer fractured skulls, knocked to the ground, jailed or be kept from exercising what they see as their right to protest. The protests are not about economic justice, but about 1,600 criminal counts that range from drug trafficking to corruption to grand larceny to ticket fixing. As the NYT notes this all comes as Federal agents “arrested eight current and former officers on accusations that they had brought illegal firearms, slot machines and black-market cigarettes into New York City.” While other officers have been charged in federal court with making false arrests. And in Brooklyn a criminal trial proceeded in which narcotics detectives were accused of planting drugs on innocent civilians. Of course all these people are innocent until proven guilty. Yet how quickly the worm turns. The police who were having their little riot at the court-house were doing so because of what feel is unfair and unjust treatment – with that many indictments there probably were a few innocent cops swept up with everyone else. The OWS protesters the police have been mistreating also feel they have legitimate complaints. No doubt a few of the protesters have behaved badly – as I write this there is a running story about some protesters assaulting other protesters, a few protesters in one city engaged in lewd behavior and a woman who apparently tried to recruit a teen protester for prostitution.
Mr. Kelly said that those who tried to rationalize ticket-fixing as part of the culture “are kidding themselves, especially if they think the public finds it acceptable.”
The everyone is doing it defense. I used that one myself at least once when I was a young teen. My parents weren’t buying it and I doubt the public will either when it comes to ticket fixing. This is also a big part of the problem with America’s financial sector. They have engaged in outrageously immoral behavior for so long it has become the norm – hey everyone is doing it.
On Friday morning, on the street outside the courthouse, some 350 officers massed behind barricades and brandished signs expressing sentiments like “It’s a Courtesy Not a Crime.”
When the defendants emerged, many in the crowd burst into raucous cheers. Once they had gone and the tide of officers had dispersed, the street was littered with refuse.
The police who think this whole episode is unfair and the city prosecutor should just call it a day, forgive and forget, might again think about what the best participants in the OWS are saying. Some of the police appeared to have done wrong. They’re going to trial or face some kind of departmental disciplinary action. Wall Street screwed the nation and millions of families, they cost us trillions in lost wealth and jobs. No one seems to be headed for trial much less jail. Different standards for different parts of a society which has a Supreme Court building engraved with the phrase “Equal justice under law”.
update: Just changed out the wallpaper.