« June 2021 | Main

July 29, 2021

Review of Breaking The News, Exposing The Establishment Media's Hidden Deals and Secret Corruption, by Alex Marlow

Review of Breaking The News, Exposing The Establishment Media's Hidden Deals and Secret Corruption, by Alex Marlow

In case you're not familiar with Alex Marlow, he is the longtime editor-in-chief of Breitbart news, so if you've come looking for conservative red meat served up with a side salad of conservative red meat, you are in luck.

This is not necessarily a knock on the book, and is very much in keeping with the Breitbart ethos established in 2007 by the departed Andrew Breitbart which was intended as a counterpoint to the overwhelming liberal bent of mainstream news.

This means that Breaking the News is not going to be a balanced look at bias in media, but rather a book focused on bias in liberal, or mainstream, media and the corruption of said media by corporate and partisan interests.

But that was the point of Breitbart News. Andrew Breitbart made no bones about being balanced, he saw the media landscape as a battleground and he was prepared for war.

As such, Breaking The News is a well documented and in many ways devestating indictment of the liberal press. He reveals their claims to neutrality to be the preposterous fiction everyone knows them to be and exposes the extent to which said media uses its influence to snuff out competing voices like Breitbart. 

In fact, this is a very Breitbart-focused book. That should not be too surprising given the author, and given his familiarity with the unfounded and persistent attacks on Breitbart by his corporate competitors. Because of that, it is a worthy insider's look at events. However, one could be excused for thinking that maybe he could have pulled back a bit on the Breitbart angle.

Speaking of which, the first chapter is titled, "The Rise of Breitbart and the Fake News Hall of Shame." It is a jarring rundown of fake news piece after fake news piece including a brief listing of fake hate-crime nooses reported credulously by the mainstream media. To think that could be a category in itself is disheartening in that it not only divides people based on lies, but diminishes the credibility of genuine hate crimes. (For the record, I don't like the term "hate crime." It's either a crime, or it isn't, I don't care about motivations.)

In Chapter 2, "Meet The Press," Marlow's recitation of conflicts of interest is impressive, if that's the right word.

There's Chuck Todd whose wife is a major Democratic consultant and whose firm has received millions of dollars in fees from Bernie Sanders.  Todd and his wife also rented out a house to Senator and previous presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar and her husband for $32oo a month. Apparently Todd did not think that was an important item to disclose, even as Todd moderated presidential debates.

Come on, he's Chuck Todd, he's above reproach, I'm sure he likes to think.

There is also New York Times media reporter, Ben Smith , who retained his stock in Buzzfeed, a media company he covers, despite having promised to sell it after he joined the Times in early 2020. Does he still own it? Would be a sweet for him if he did given the company is about to go public.

There is a lot of that in this book.

Subsequent chapters focus on the corruption, bias, and self-dealing on the part of NBC News, Bloomberg News, and others. (The chapter on Bloomberg is jaw dropping in how compromised they are by their reliance on China.)

Breitbart also details how the mainstream media buries (or ignores) details of a story inconvenient to their ideological view of the world, and elevates those more agreeable. (I would argue Breitbart does the same particularly in their choices of what to cover, however the important difference is that only NBC and the rest pretend they don't.)

It's really not anything that would not be passably familiar to anybody paying attention, but having it all gathered together, detailed and documented, does have an impact.

I believe the book serves two purposes. First, for true believers it provides an ample supply of ammo and a big helping of motivation. The section on the Covington School student who was confronted by a native American in DC is surely familiar to most people, but there were details presented in the book, ones I hadn't known, that are infuriating. 

Second, for fence sitters, this might be a wake-up call. 

As I mentioned at the beginning, this is not intended as a critique of all news media, and except for a glancing blow dealt to Fox News, the focus is squarely on the liberal, mainstream media, however those who have a feeling that all is not as it seems could find Marlow's arguments compelling. I don't believe he prints anything that is not supportable by the record or otherwise documented.

As he frequently notes, he's a conservative, he has a conservative bias and his writing reflects a conservative worldview.  The difference between him and, say, the Chuck Todds of the world, is that he's upfront about it and does not attempt to cloak himself in the armor of impartiality.

That, together with the continued dominance of mainstream, liberal-leaning media in our culture as supported (and enforced) by the big tech titans who control social media, make the case for a book focused on such compelling.

A quick note on the Audible version which is how I purchased it. Marlow himself narrates it, which is always a plus so long as the writer is also good at speaking, and Marlow is. There are some occasional and somewhat jarring changes in the recording quality and tone between some chapters, but that is not all that unusual, it's just one of my pet peeves. Feel free to ignore it.

While its run time is 10 hours and 34 minutes, it goes by quickly, and I was able to polish it off over the course of a three-day drive in which I was on the road for about twelve hours.  I usually take more breaks from a book, but it is written (and read) in a lively and entertaining style.

I prefer not to rank books but rather like to take a binary approach: It's either worth your time or it isn't. For me, it was. It is a useful reference, it is a call to arms of sorts (the extent of the corruption and bias is frankly scary), and it is accessible to those with open minds. It definitely has a viewpoint, but one that is clearly disclosed up front.

It is available here or through the link below. Please note that I do receive some small change (seriously, we're talking a quarter, maybe a couple of dimes) for each book sold through the link, so I appreciate your using that IF you are interested in the book.

J.

July 29, 2021 at 03:58 PM in Books | Permalink | Comments (2)

July 17, 2021

Planet Moron is also on Substack

This blog will live on, of course, and I still write regularly for Not The Bee and maintain a presence on Twitter (recent tweets in the right sidebar).

However, I launched a publication on Substack today, "Life on Planet Moron, travels, travails, and travesties from your resident Moronaut." It will be a slightly more personal take on things. You can access the first article below.

Thanks as always, I very much appreciate the support and readership!

J.

 

July 17, 2021 at 06:42 PM in Current Affairs, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 08, 2021

"Shame on you," a finger-pointing Chuck Todd scolds Americans who don't want to take an experimental unapproved vaccine.

Don't make Chuck Todd angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry, mainly because he'll probably need some tissues and hugs as he can barely control his sobs of fury. Think beta-male Hulk.

"That's my secret. I'm always empathetic."

After that it just gets awkward.

Here he is last Thursday no longer even trying to hold back the contempt for which he holds the great unwashed, otherwise known as healthy people who don't want to take an experimental unapproved vaccine.

This is a a slightly longer clip for a little more context. It's from the MSNBC site. They don't consider this an embarrassing flub. They want to promote it.

A choked up Chuck Todd (say that three times fast) points out that,

"The country is moving once again in the wrong direction on this virus."

As he says this, they display this chart.

Chuck Todd Vax Meltdown 2

Pro tip: When you're trying to make a dramatic point, it helps if your graphic does not completely undermine your dramatic point.

"There has been a 10% increase in cases since last week."

Since just last week!

"10%."

Yes, he said it twice for emphasis.

Let's dig into these extremely terrifying numbers a bit.

In the two weeks preceding his meltdown (data through July 1), The 7-day moving average of Coronavirus cases bounced around between 15,000 and 6,700. That's not a 10% variation. That's a 100% variation just in the last week. In fact, as of June 14 there were around 15,000 cases, meaning using Chuck Todd's 12,471 number, the one he's using to sow alarm, cases are down about 20%.

Here are the 7-day moving averages of cases also through July 1.

Chuck Todd Vax Meltdown 4

I'm having difficulty ginning up panic over this.

Great, now I want gin.

Okay, fine, let's go back a full month, get a real sense of the trend.

Chuck Todd Vax Meltdown 5

Okay, that's not helpful to his case.

Wait, what about deaths?! He's talking about deaths!! How about those numbers? I'll bet they're downright terri...

Chuck Todd Vax Meltdown 6

Pay no attention to that data behind the curtain.

Todd went on to note that CDC director Rochelle Walensky said that the very scary Delta variant is "hyper transmissible" and "its spread is being fueled by communities with low vaccination rates."

As Todd puts it,

"Literally the only people dying are the unvaccinated."

That's not true.

Literally!

It's actually much more complicated than that.

(Worth a read.)

Second, the vast majority of deaths are among the clinically obese.

That does not make it okay, but it does strongly suggest that trying to shame young (sub-40), fit, healthy people into taking an experimental pharmaceutical they don't need is where the real shame should lie.

Chuck Todd, who has a natural immunity against self-awareness, doesn't care.

"For those of you spreading misinformation,...

And by misinformation, he means CDC data.

"...shame on you."

Does he say it twice again for emphasis?

Of course he does. Of course he does.

"Shame on you."

It's around this time he gets deeply into the finger pointing, even adding a little eye twitch for effect.

Chuck Todd Vax Meltdown 7

"Think about it."

In the early days of people yelling at each other on the Internet, "think about it" became a punchline of sorts. It was the phrase that simpletons typically used after having said something wholly vacant of meaning. Intelligent people picked up on it, and started using "think about it" as a form of ridicule.

I'm guessing Chuck Todd doesn't know that.

"I don't know how some of you sleep at night."

This is not how you motivate people to take the vaccine. I got the vaccine, but this kind of behavior makes me want to untake it just to annoy Chuck Todd. This is about Chuck Todd wanting to luxuriate in his own sense of superiority.

Chuck Todd Vax Meltdown 1

Never go full smug. It's not a good look.

July 8, 2021 at 08:46 AM in Covid-19/Coronavirus, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3)