The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Fallacy of Today's New Purveyors, When We Need Them Most

Statement worthy of promulgation and a statement rarely spoken regarding today's news delivery.

Jeremy Scahill, Journalist, a vanishing species in a dying profession

“CNN has some great reporters on the ground,” Scahill said. “When you get into this kind of fear-generating territory is when you have these so-called ‘terror analysts’ on the air, many of whom also work for risk consultancy firms that benefit from the idea of making us afraid.” 
“I don’t think CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News do anywhere near a good enough job at revealing the potential conflicts of interests of some of the on-air analysts who also work in the private sector and make money on the idea that we should be afraid.”

Real journalist are a rarity. They cannot be found on any major cable network despite the fact MSNBC has employed host with backgrounds in journalism.

The people who deliver our news are people who are opinion purveyors who often read scripts co-authored with script writers. Each cable news host (and probably all on-air network news readers) are managed very closely by their show producers. Most are news readers like Brian Williams who earns at a level that can only be described as that of a high level celebrity entertainer. Williams and his evening news competition are mere functionaries compared to the role of host of a cable news network show. Regardless of network the producers, host, writers and book professional literally shape of news as if passing on propaganda for hire. Granted, I am a liberal and find the evening MSNBC's shows (post Chris Matthews) my cup of tea, but I have grown weary MSNBC brass turning the evening shows into jabber-jabber opinion telling. As to the matter of Matthews; he has decided to move his show far Right of Center despite occasional rants that appear progressive. He avoided all criticism of Rand Paul as the Senator's plagiarism scandals unfolded and his on air suckling of Paul paid off as Paul agreed to join Matthews for an interview in late 2014. If you think Paul joining Matthews was pure circumstance, think again. Paul publicly swore off MSNBC with Ari Melber (one evening) until the "network tells the truth."The Senator from Kentucky is the consummate opportunist and as slimy crafty as any rain forest chameleon. If he agreed to join Matthews, he knew the environment was not only safe, I posit he knew Matthews would provide a facilitating segment. Alas, Matthews ended the segment with words to Paul like: "We are thinking alike and I find that scary." (Paraphrased)

The shifty chameleon Paul  is still smarting from a revealing interview with Rachel Maddow over three years ago. Paul was revealed as harboring deep rooted aversion to Civil Rights legislation from the mid 1960s.

Why a TPI screed regarding cable and network news? Something interesting and accurate was part of this past weekends Reliable Sources, CNN's Brian Steltar. While, I feel show producers often throw stones while working in a glass houses, there are times when Steltar offers information and sits with guests who are are "high-information purveyors."

The following segment with Jeremy Scahill addresses a topic that is literally a major pet peeve for me. The booking of guest who are for the most part talking heads (with big paychecks) with the job of commenting on issues sometimes outside of their areas of "expertise." Or, networks book the sensationalizing guest who feeds ravishing viewers, who may tune-in while missing their favorable reality TV show.

Watch and listen at the 3:00 minute mark of the following embed. Linked here. You need only watch 30 seconds of the segment to capture my point.

Scahill spoke of on-air personalities from one perspective, I offer another. Many of the guest are mere celebrity-like opinion purveyors who have little to no actually credibility. One such talking head was formerly employed by CNN during the period surrounding the Bergdahl /Taliban (GITMO) prisoner swap. The following is an excerpt from as piece I published in June 2014. 

If you stick with the CNN segment linked below, you will find the perfect celebrity guest: former Navy Seal, and workout guy ( Chris Mark Heben) who was eventually shot in the stomach and "claimed the shooting was the act of the "black buy." That ever convenient lie from whites caught with their figurative pants around their ankles while speaking with cops. Video later showed he was not accosted by a "black guy."

The 2:27 minute video is highly edited, but better than no visual exhibition. The original internet version is over eight minutes in length.
The video speaks for itself. It was obvious the captive was shuttled to the release site. He appeared at one point to be restrained. The captors performed a caption with aesthetically pleasing font over the image a message to America (see lede image). The message for me, leave our nation and do not come back. One of Bergdahl's handlers spoke to the captive and he spoke back. Since, we do not know if they exchanged words in English; we might assume they spoke a from of language of his captors. And, Bergdahl blinks almost incessant and he rubbed his eyes often with occasional looks up towards the sky. 

As I watched a CNN News segment this afternoon, I astound at the bush-league level of show guests. One of the two guest was a supposed expert on matters of captive and captor. When asked by Brooke "Legs" Baldwin about Bergdahl's incessant blinking, the expert proved his true worth. The alleged expert indicated the blinking was due to the captors nervousness and fear about what would be his (Bergdahl's) outcome once back in the States. How much imagination did you just expend to think in realm of Bergdahl was transported to the release site blindfolded to avoid his revealing the origin of this journey? How far-fetched to think his blinking may have been due to the removed eye cover? As a minimum the so-called expert might have thought the captor was held in total darkness. A competent captive expert should have allowed for the impact of immediate sunlight into blindfolded eyes even though the captors may have edited out images of an eye cover. I mean come on, CNN. Eye sensitivity due to bright light was so obvious. Let's face it even us arm-chair warriors know the need to avoid detection of the origin of the journey via blindfold. The alleged expert also indicated he would have ".....put his butt on the ground," rather than give the captive two quick pat-downs for purpose of recovery detail security. The "indicting" expert didn't even recognize the significance of the Taliban propaganda video and the horror across the globe had he been on-recovery and threw Bergdahl to the ground! His views of the captive showed like the average Fox News guest. 

End digression, but I needed to make a point about paid show guest and the extent to which some are mere accommodating sensationalizing mouth-pieces.
Scahill's comments to Steltar embodies the essence of a dying professional Journalism has given way to highly compensated talking head purveyors of opinion and well-paid segment guest who never fail to echo the sentiment of the producers who booked them to the news show (their meal ticket). The rare exception... the guest who goes rogue, speaks outside the script and is more often than not yelled-at by the host (Fox News tactic) or the guest suffers shortened airtime. Yes, on MSNBC I recall two clear cases of a host (Tamron Hall for one) literally cutting a microphone of a guest who attempted to fill the minutes with right-wing mantra an talking points.

The problem is much more serious than spending a few minutes reading a screed some writer spent two hours developing. People get most of their news from television (Local and national). 

Pew Research (October 2013)

TV News Viewing                  Time Spent with TV News

Average Time News Consumers Spend on Various Platforms Cross-Platform News Consumption

Cable News Cross-Platform


Cable news is without question the prime source of nation news. Once, news networks, producers and hosts move from reporting news with light commentary to outright demagoguery (LEFT OR RIGHT) the public psyche suffers and we elect flawed political candidates. A recipe for the death of a nation.

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