Previous Posts By Michael Shiloh

Previous Posts

By Michael Shiloh

Just relax and enjoy watching the transformation of American journalism


In addition to all the other major disagreements among Americans, there appear to be disagreements about what constitutes “fake news.”  They teach you in journalism school that relying on anonymous sources for news is a very risky business, and you as a reporter better get a second source on the story before you publish or announce it.

We’re not getting any sense that The Washington Post and The New York Times are second-sourcing the stories in which they don’t name their source, and that’s a huge problem for them and their credibility.  It borders on fake news, yet every day it seems there’s a new story. Now comes the deputy US attorney general with great advice in these uncertain news times.

From The New York Times: “Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, encouraged Americans in a statement issued late Thursday to be “skeptical about anonymous allegations” after a string of recent news reports about the evolving focus of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s election interference and possible collusion with President Trump’s associates.

In the meantime, comic Lee Camp has a devastating and funny treatise about being abused by The New York Times at Naked Capitalism‘s site.

And not to be outdone, Politico‘s Mitchell Stephens writes that journalism is being transformed by President Trump.  Never mind that Trump doesn’t write, he’s changing journalism, suspend your disbelief.

Stephens hails the return of the pre-objectivity journalism of 100 years ago.  He leaves out the fact that old news venues are and have been losing readers like crazy which may be the real reason newspapers, TV and radio are moving toward advocacy reporting, but never mind that either. Just enjoy the argument that it’s — Better that journalists surrender the old pretense to objectivity entirely.


Nothing personal, my fellow journalists, but…


A journalistic friend pointed this out last week and I thought I’d share with you.  If you’re under 30 you may not remember when local and network news was less tabloid, less slick than it is today.

For those of us 40 and older it’s been quite obvious, the changes that broadcast news has gone through — and much of it is not helpful to those of us starved for objective news of the world around us, serious investigative work and news from the statehouse — information that directly affects us on a daily basis (the Russia scandals and Washington soap opera does not, at least not yet).

This is called “NewsBlues Editor Takes Parting Shot at Unhealthy Transformation of TV News by Robert Feder,” but I could do several more paragraphs about similar unhealthy changes in radio news too; I just won’t bore you with that now:

“We have watched the unhealthy transformation of TV news: the steady shift to shallow tabloid content; the casting aside of older, experienced talent; the headlong pursuit of younger demographics; the drive to build newsrooms on ethnically-balanced quotas and newscasts on research-driven formulas; the abandonment of investigative journalism out of fear of litigation; the proliferation of 24-hour cable news and its need to fill time with opinion; the politicalization of news and the loss of balance; and the increasingly intense focus to “do more with less.”

And that had led to live shots for the sake of going live; mandatory walk-and-talks; syrupy live TV marriage proposals; weepy personal medical memoirs; mommy blogs and birth celebrations; newsroom sheet cakes; buyouts and layoffs; adrenalin-infused storm chasers masquerading as scientists; local meteorologists with sleeves rolled up interrupting programming for breathless storm alerts in distant counties; bigger, more powerful radars; mobile weather units covered in advertiser logos; beauty queen traffic anchors; TelePrompTer readers in cocktail dresses; endless promotion and slogans and shallow branding; verbless BREAKING NEWS that isn’t; tweets and selfies and sprawling studios meant to overwhelm viewers with style, rather than substance.

“We’ve watched a handful of broadcasting companies leverage investment money to gobble up local TV stations by the hundreds, creating ownership behemoths that threaten the public interest by centralizing news production, eliminating competition and diversity, squeezing advertisers, steam rolling retransmission agreements, and generating obscene compensation packages for a handful of executives.

“Meanwhile, news staffs have been consolidated and salaries slashed. Local television, now dependent on scale, has expanded its local news hole to accommodate more advertising opportunities to pay the bills.

“We’ve witnessed the unsound focus on self-congratulatory industry awards, the preposterous growth of regional Emmys®, and the surrealistic expansion of Edward R. Murrow trophies.

“We’ve watched major universities move from educating journalists to creating TV personalities, who seem eager to build careers on the shifting sands of social media.

“And we’ve watched a small university in America’s poorest state become an online factory for TV weather guessers.

“On our watch, America’s trust and confidence in the news media has fallen to an all-time low.”



On the other hand, Burning Questions


Is it just me or does Adobe Flash always have updates available that you don’t have?

Nashville is Music City.  Okay.  And the Country Music Capital of the World.  Okay. So why is it that the latest overall Nashville Nielsen ratings don’t show any country radio stations among the Top 5?

I saw a used copy of one of those Fun Facts to Read In the Bathroom books for sale recently. Would anybody buy a used book that’s intended to read while using the toilet?  Does even asking the question remind you of an episode of Seinfeld?



There were people who were awed by the beginning of the movie “The Burbs” because of the intricate drop by the camera from Planet Earth down to the United States down to one neighborhood street.

No matter what you thought of the 1989 Tom Hanks movie, it was a breathtaking little special effect if you happened to see it in a theater. Now imagine taking that to the extreme.





Let’s Get it Right: Facts


We in the news media are, in far too many cases, getting the facts wrong or not even getting to the facts at all.

This was proven a number of times during the recent stories about the firing of FBI director James Comey.

Fact: President Donald Trump is not under investigation by the FBI. There are simply no facts or even unnamed sources who say he is. He is not and neither are any senior Trump administration officials.

Fact: There is little or no connection between the Comey firing and the Justice Department’s issuing of grand jury subpoenas in the investigation of possible wrongdoing by former Trump National Security advisor Michael Flynn. Comey was fired May 9th; the subpoenas were issued, as CNN Wire noted that same day, “in recent weeks;” not the day of the firing, not even in the week before the firing. CNN’s almost-simultaneous reporting of both the firing and the subpoenas left the impression that Comey was fired because of the subpoenas. There is no known factual connection.

Fact: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has said he did not threaten to resign his post. There was breathless reporting in several major media (citing unnamed sources) that Rosenstein threatened to quit while the White House cast his assessment of Comey’s work at the FBI as a major reason for Comey’s firing. He may have been exasperated by the Trump administration’s use of Rosenstein’s assessment as an “excuse” to fire Comey — who knows besides Rosenstein? — but he is on the record as saying he did not threaten to quit.

Fact: The similarities between the Watergate scandal and the Comey firing events are a coincidence and nothing more. Those of us who were around for the Nixon Watergate scandal know that there are vast differences between then and now. Those who claim to see a major correlation between the two are apparently engaging in Clickbait and ratings-grabbing (or wishful thinking?) at the expense of accuracy.

This is not to defend President Trump nor do I claim that more investigations may or may not come along; the facts stand as of now.

It’s a problem for all of us who are working journalists to see deliberate slanting and half-truths and misleading news stories that go uncorrected by leading national journals and broadcasters.

Truth is the goal, not Clickbait.



Who’s More Prejudiced Against Others, Conservatives or Liberals?  The Truth Is They’re Both Equally Intolerant of Each Other


Studies have shown that while progressives believe themselves to be much less prejudiced than conservatives against those who are different, the truth according to studies is they are equally biased. We can move forward with the healing of America if we start by understanding this one simple truth.

From Politico: “Research over the years has shown that in industrialized nations, social conservatives and religious fundamentalists possess psychological traits, such as the valuing of conformity and the desire for certainty, that tend to predispose people toward prejudice. Meanwhile, liberals and the nonreligious tend to be more open to new experiences, a trait associated with lower prejudice. So one might expect that, whatever each group’s own ideology, conservatives and Christians should be inherently more discriminatory on the whole.

“But more recent psychological research, some of it presented in January at the annual meeting of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), shows that it’s not so simple. These findings confirm that conservatives, liberals, the religious and the nonreligious are each prejudiced against those with opposing views. But surprisingly, each group is about equally prejudiced. While liberals might like to think of themselves as more open-minded, they are no more tolerant of people unlike them than their conservative counterparts are.

“Political understanding might finally stand a chance if we could first put aside the argument over who has that bigger problem. The truth is that we all do.” More




I just came across this; interesting.


Statement from the American College of Pediatricians, submitted by Roxy Elder:

“The American College of Pediatricians urges healthcare professionals, educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex. Facts – not ideology – determine reality.”

1. Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: “XY” and “XX” are genetic markers of male and female, respectively – not genetic markers of a disorder.

2. No one is born with a gender. Everyone is born with a biological sex. Gender (an awareness and sense of oneself as male or female) is a sociological and psychological concept; not an objective biological one.

3. A person’s belief that he or she is something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking.

4. Puberty is not a disease and puberty-blocking hormones can be dangerous.

5. According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.

6. Pre-pubertal children who use puberty blockers to impersonate the opposite sex will require cross-sex hormones in late adolescence.

7. Rates of suicide are nearly twenty times greater among adults who use cross-sex hormones and undergo sex reassignment surgery, even in Sweden which is among the most LGBTQ – affirming countries.

8. Conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.




May Day May Day


For those who don’t remember, May Day is also known as International Worker’s Day and has been widely celebrated since the 19th century especially by labor unions, social democrats, communists, socialists and anarchists, besides being a rite of Spring based on ancient traditions.

It was notable from the reporting on May Day demonstrations around the US on Tuesday May 1st 2017 that some reporters understood the political context of “Labor Day” — and some saw it as largely about demonstrations for immigration freedom and LGBTQ rights and more importantly against President Trump.

And it was about those subjects in most cases because protesters made it about that. In Los Angeles and elsewhere, stores and restaurants closed, which is traditional — it’s a day for workers.

In many cities, turnout was lighter than expected. There were arrests across the nation. And there were violent protests.

In Portland Oregon 25 people were arrested after molotov cocktails were hurled at police; there were riots; the police chief said he wasn’t sure what the demonstrators’ message was “other than pure criminality.”

Reporters around the country saw the diffused message and generally treated it like another day of demonstrations. Notable was Keri Blakinger of the Houston Chronicle, who reported that “Socialists, immigrants and anarchists turned out – some with creative and obscene signage – to mingle in Guadalupe Plaza Park and hear poetry and fiery bilingual speeches as dusk fell.”

But the apparent message this May Day was reflected in the headline: “Socialists, immigrants bash President Trump at Houston May Day Rally.”

The article dutifully lists the rally sponsors including the Houston Communist Party, the Brown Berets and the Students for a Democratic Society.

Good reporting: This was not a spontaneous get together of like-minded citizens (neither was the recent Climate March, which also turned out to be a demonstration largely against Trump). And Ian Goodrum, 27, of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (socialism is always sold as a path to liberation) summed it up: “I think the time has come to stop trying to rely on politicians from the two main parties in the administration. It’s time to look to something else and that’s what radicalism is.”

This resembles the “Day Without a Mexican” gatherings on May 1, 2006, which were also called The Great American Boycott, which called for people of hispanic lineage to walk off their jobs and out of their schools. There were rallies at which participants were met with angry speeches against then-President Bush, socialist magazines and newspapers and leaflets promoting members of the Democratic Party, some of whom along with their organizers were there to speak.

May Day, for those who don’t remember the Cold War of the 1940s-80s, was always the day the Soviet Union paraded its weapons for The People to see; it was a day that had become closely associated with collectivism, which is even today considered radicalism by many.

So collectivism = radicalism is a notion that is something like 100 years old or older, I’ll note just for the record.

There was a time in the 1960s through the ’80s when there were no concerns on the political left about the Soviet Union; it was the hard right that was anti-communist, anti-Soviet. The Russians could be our friends and we could disarm by agreement, destroying our nuclear arsenals, we were told by the New Left.

Now the only people I talk to who are anti-Russian are on the political left. How times change, y’know?

But there seems to be a kind of cognitive dissonance about the role of collectivism in society these days: The fact that the vast majority of Americans only talk politics regularly with like-minded folks can lead to skewed views of communism, socialism, radicalism and their offshoots. After all, when was the last time you talked to someone who lived under Soviet rule?

An acquaintance once described to me a socialist America as “a dream” where we can all get what we want.

The US is largely a capitalist society so collectivism can seem radical, despite its age. Capitalism isn’t exactly a recent discovery either, it’s just that no one yearns for modern capitalism as a radical ideal, except in collectivist nations.

Journalists seem to be increasingly using the term “late capitalism” to describe some of what’s going on in America today. The Atlantic is self-conscious about it’s use of the term, used as it is in seeming anticipation of “system change” in the US, which is a concept heavily promoted by the Eco-Socialist Coalition today.

And then there’s the curious case of the Brooklyn secondary school principal who is being investigated for allegedly engaging in, and recruiting her students for, communist activities, according to WNYC. The investigating body is the New York City Department of Education Office of Special Investigations. It may be surprising to you that people are investigated for communist activities today.

The case is also curious because there are claims that the principal was not teaching a required course and that students who “voice opinions different” from hers were not allowed to express them; it was not just about her “communist activities.”

The city has argued that political speech at school is a violation of academic policy. The principal has filed a countersuit.

It may be that the “intersectionality” of collectivism, as expressed by socialist and pseudo-socialist organizations today, is becoming indistinguishable from the myriad identity-politics that today are so often served up by newspapers, radio, television and magazines.

“I’m about animal rights, that’s why I’m here for May Day.” Even though the ostensible message is about workers’ rights.

If socialism is increasingly not only about social theory and a political system but also about political civil constructs of all kinds, it’s no wonder reporters can be confused about the broad news appeal of socialist demonstrations.

If May Day and Climate Change and Worried Scientists bring out marchers who can’t resist consistently baiting Trump, what they’re marching for becomes seconday.

And if specific social protests can be about anything, are they really about anything?



There’s a recognizable bias in much of the news you read and, yes, it’s increasing: Politico


Probably the most thorough analysis of the increasingly partisan news reporting you’ve been seeing over the past year or years appears in Politico, which has itself been accused of having a left-of-center spin.

In acknowledging this “press myopia” Politico “excavated labor statistics and cross-referenced them against voting patterns and Census data to figure out just what the American media landscape looks like, and how much it has changed. The results read like a revelation.”

Some of the sloppy reporting that’s been appearing in major newspapers, along with major broadcast media and certainly Internet websites, would not have been tolerated even 15 years ago and alarmingly might well not have been classified as “journalism” but simply as “opinion” or “advocacy.”

Some of the stories, to this jaundiced eye, border on polemics, especially with the liberties some reporters take with statements of “fact.” No I’m not talking about Fake News websites, I’m talking the leading dailies.

In the major newspapers alone but including radio and TV, my editors in the 1990s would have soundly rejected as “opinion” a number of news stories that appear daily as hard news today.

But maybe it’s not about bias, maybe these reporters really think their approach is part of the mainstream of American thinking and writing. And it is indeed — along the two coasts, according to Politico.



How MP3 music is helping bring joy to people with Alzheimer’s


One touching story of a man brought back to his love of music by the sounds from a simple MP3 player.  If you know someone with this disease you know what a difference this can make.  And he’s right: The world needs more music bringing us together.  And he’s right again: Cab Calloway was one of the best.

When I get those lonesome blues, sometimes I wish I could go on ‘way down to Charleston to see ol’ Geechee Joe.

See the video here.



Scraping By On $500,000 A Year In New York City


When I was in Manhattan recently I talked with a man who had grown up in the projects (very low cost housing to put it kindly) and it was his firm belief that New York City is quickly becoming a town just for rich people.

He said folks from other countries are now willing to pay an inflated price just to live in a renovated version of the projects across the street from where he grew up — and of course he was amazed by it all.

So we come to the case of two people who find it hard to live the middle class good life in New York on half a million dollars a year. I wish I could say I’m surprised.

From Financial Samarai: “People who consistently earn $500,000+ annually should not have any financial problems. If they do, they aren’t getting sympathy from anybody since they’re making roughly 10X the median household income. A very simple solution to growing rich is to simply track your finances for free online like how you’d track your weight by x money checks!

“There’s a never ending cycle of financial comparison. And with comparison comes envy, jealousy, depression, and all sorts of ridiculous feelings that would not be felt if you just took a step back and realized how fortunate you really are. This is why if you do want to beat the Joneses, you should compete on FREEDOM because there’ll always one more dollar to be made.

“The below chart is an annual spending example of a couple who each make $250,000 a year as lawyers. They have two children ages three and five. They are both in their early 30s and live in New York City, the most expensive city in America!





Are you like me, are you finding it harder to discern the facts from the news reporting just about everywhere?


Between the “style” of the reporting (is it a blog, a column or straight news reporting?) to the “angle” of the story (center the reporting on one person’s story or spring the story from one fact or just put the headline in the first paragraph) facts are getting hard to come by, and it isn’t just the fault of politicians.

“We are not yet 100 days into Donald Trump’s presidency,” wrote one writer, “but by the sheer volume of news coverage alone, one could be forgiven for thinking that it has been far longer since the inauguration.”

From the Dallas Morning News: Depending on one’s choice of media outlet, one could also be forgiven for thinking there are two entirely different, but parallel, universes in which that news is being made.

The continuous news coverage is aided and abetted by a president whose communication style and media-savvy personality have proved to be a perfect fit for the fragmented media environment that has emerged during the past few years.

And the idea of a “parallel universe” is exemplified when, on two screens carrying two separate networks reporting on the same set of facts, one media outlet is reporting on the existence of classified information that shows alleged malfeasance within the administration while another reports on the failure to find and prosecute leakers of that classified information.

None of this is new or noteworthy. Partisan and polarized media exists around the world, in countries ranked high and low on the Freedom House index of democracy.

What seems new to us – or at least more transparent with Trump in particular – is how the media has chosen to package the news in a way that Americans have gotten used to consuming it: based on what suits pre-existing thoughts and narratives.

To a large extent, this has continued into the present, with the end result that there is no longer one media, but rather fractured media streams that serve not to illuminate “truth” but rather to reinforce dogma.



You Mean There’s Bias?


From former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s excellent website chronicling news media bias, this is how the major political-reporting media fall on the bias chart:




From Bloomberg: How to Stay Sane in a World of Crazy News


When a story seems outrageous, such as a five-year-old Syrian refugee shown in handcuffs before deportation, it might not be true—or entirely true. That Syrian girl wasn’t in handcuffs, her father said after he had heard the reports, and they aren’t refugees. The photo shows detained Syrians trying to go on vacation who, despite their visas, were denied entry and had to return home. Binkowski and D.C. Vito, executive director of the Lamp, which teaches media literacy in New York, suggest searching for a second source, especially when a story is incendiary. — Bloomberg  More




Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay — At Least For Now

Who knew? Those of us who lived through the so-called Rock Era were living in an extraordinary time, though only a few of us realized it, I guess.  There are those who say rock and roll music is now passe and belongs to the past, but the truth is rock is still the strongest music around, just as it has been for going-on-60 years.

And as a recent article in the Wall St. Journal makes clear, it doesn’t look likely that the newer rock acts — those from the 1990s and beyond — will have the staying power of the acts from the ’50s and especially the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.  It’s a different era now, but in terms of how songs and acts are making money (which is considered a true barometer of popularity because the question is do you like a song or do you love it enough to pay your hard-earned money for it?) rock continues to dominate music today.

So strong has rock proven to be that it continues to squeeze the once-dominant “pop” music down to almost single digit percentages.

“Rock,” the article emphasizes, “has an outsize influence on music sales. It was responsible for 41% of total U.S. album sales last year, far higher than hip-hop and R&B (15%), country (13%) or pop (10%), according to Nielsen.”

“Of the 25 artists with the highest record sales in the U.S. since 1991, when reliable data first became available, just one—Britney Spears—is under 40, Nielsen data show. Nineteen of the 25 are over 50 years old,” the Journal reports.

“In terms of concert-tour revenue, artists over 50 represent half of the $4.5 billion generated by last year’s top 100-grossing tours, excluding non-music acts and comedians, according to a WSJ analysis of data from Pollstar, the trade magazine. Of the top 10, five were over 50, including Bruce Springsteen (67), Guns N’ Roses (average age 53), Paul McCartney (74), Garth Brooks (55) and the Rolling Stones (73), Pollstar data show.”

The Journal’s article is about the impeding deaths of many of rock’s greats on top of the many unexpected losses of recent years (Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Chuck Berry, George Michael, to a name a few).  There have been a number of such news stories in recent years, but this one, in the midst of anticipating death, points to continued life in a refreshing way.




NPR, HuffPo, Breitbart In Bottom Tier of 13 On News Credibility, InfoWars Down There With The Onion: Morning Consult
Source: @GraphiqHQ, @realDonaldTrump, @Independent, @josephncohen; Read full article



Quoting Pioneering Popular Movie Critic Richard Schickel, Feb. 10, 1933-Feb. 18, 2017

Directors Guild of America portrait of Richard Schickel

“Criticism — and its humble cousin, reviewing — is not a democratic activity.

“It is, or should be, an elite enterprise, ideally undertaken by individuals who bring something to the party beyond their hasty, instinctive opinions of a book (or any other cultural object).

“It is work that requires disciplined taste, historical and theoretical knowledge and a fairly deep sense of the author’s (or filmmaker’s or painter’s) entire body of work, among other qualities.”

The two central measures of a movie’s quality should be how much a viewer retains and how much one wants to see it again.

“The truth, very simply, is that most movies are lousy or, at best, routine.”

— from his book, “Keepers, the Greatest Films — and Personal Favorites — of a Movie-Going Lifetime” (2015)



Scientists use mathematical calculations to prove the existence of God

— The Express (UK): Scientists use mathematical calculations to prove the existence of God




A New Year note from the editors of

Jan. 20, 2017 — 

After taking 6 weeks off for the holidays (they do it in Europe, don’t they? Why can’t we?) and moving to a new server along the way, we can only hope your days off were fun. We saw lots of movies, some great some not so, and of course heard lots of holiday songs, but it was Mike here at TheLatest.Net who went backward instead of forward, buying and downloading Christmas music from the 1930s through the 1950s. He says,

“There was just too much of it available not to fall in love with it in it’s corny beauty.  So what if I’m hearing some of it while waiting for a hot mocha on a cold rainy day at Starbucks?

“I knew if they had “I Love the Winter Weather” (“So the two of us can get together…”) there must be lots more vintage Christmas love out there in cyberspace, I just hadn’t found it yet. So I looked.

“We’re all used to the local radio station that goes All-Christmas-All-the-Time, pulling out Perry Como, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby holiday things — artists you can hardly find on the radio any other time of year, which I find rather curious — but I started getting hooked on songs I had never heard before.

“Y’know, energetic little ditties like “Christmas is the Season of the Bells,” (above) sung by Jo Stafford, who was very popular in her time, the 1940s- 60s, written by her husband Paul Weston. Those two must have been hell at parties, singing and playing piano all night.

“I Want You for Christmas” seems to have started the endless barrage of songs that express that sexy sentiment (“You can bet by Jim’ney he’ll come down the chimney with a bag full of you!”), an impressive song when done by Russ Morgan doing the vocal from 1937.

“It’s a classic hoot and even begins with the band reminding us in song to “Do your Christmas shopping early and you’ll avoid the rush.”  Maybe next year.

“There’s even a version of that song by Mae Questrel, also from 1937.  She was the voice of Betty Boop and Popeye’s Olive Oyl in the cartoons of that era.  Long before Madonna and Eartha Kitt, Mae makes it sound like

she’s being as seductive as she can be, like Betty Boop would do. Don’t know who Betty Boop was? Click on the song above anyway.  Betty and Grampy would want you to.

“If the December holidays are supposed to be a happy time — even if sometimes bittersweet — I’ll take this jolly song over “Holly Jolly Christmas.”  Kind of a Mae-December romance.

“How can you go wrong with this stuff if you’re getting tired of the usual Christmas music fare of “Do You Hear What I Hear” and “Happy Christmas (War Is Over),” most versions of which have been played so often they’ve reached “burn” level, as we say in radio, long ago.

“And a lot of people have called the radio stations I’ve worked at to complain about other stations continually playing “The Little Drummer Boy” so often they get a queasy feeling in their stomachs. Most were inconsolable.

“But it was a little treat to have Bruce Handy nominate “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Judy Garland — from her movie, “Meet Me In St. Louis” — on Christmas Eve in the usually Grinch-like New York Times.

“Who knew that the original lyrics were so sad? (“Have yourself a merry little Christmas, it may be your last, next year we may all be living in the past” (!))  Garland refused to sing those lyrics (People will “think I’m a monster,” she said) so songwriter Hugh Martin brightened it up, from dismal to the melancholy approach as it appears in the movie. (“Next year all our troubles will be out of sight…”)

“Handy notes that even Sinatra thought the lyric, “Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow,” just too grim, so Martin did a little rewrite again, this time giving Frank the line, “Hang a shining star on the highest bough.”

“It’s what’s so great about digging around in the music that was popular long before I was born. There are whole new attitudes to discover.  New York City could be cozy even in the tenements on Christmas Eve and Denver was the wilderness, but both could see snow.  Scratchy recordings could play “White Christmas” over and over and comforting voices on the radio could remind people that it was the season to be jolly, but also a time to remember.

“What was it like, say, Christmas Eve in New York City, 1939?  That’s what I began to wonder. The world was a dangerous place but people were full of hope and good cheer, I imagine.  And such imagining can be a good antidote to the cynicism we all encounter so often these days.”




“These 15 Billionaires Own America’s News Media Companies”

Carlos Slim Helu, who owns the largest individual stake in The New York Times

It’s hardly a surprise that the American news media are pretty much in the cradle of billionaires, but it takes a major publication like Forbes to wrap it up so concisely:

“Here’s a look at some of the billionaires who own news media in the United States:

Michael Bloomberg – Bloomberg  LP and Bloomberg Media

Michael Bloomberg, the richest billionaire in the media business, returned to his eponymous media company in September 2014, eight months after stepping down as mayor of New York City. One notable sign of his influence on the publication: Michael Bloomberg doesn’t appear on Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.

Carlos Slim Helu – The New York Times

The New York Times published an article criticizing the power that billionaires wield over media companies.

Rupert Murdoch – News Corp NWSA +1.76%

Rupert Murdoch, former CEO of 21st Century Fox , the parent of powerhouse cable TV channel Fox News, may well be the world’s most powerful media tycoon.

Donald and Samuel “Si” Newhouse – Advance Publications

Donald Newhouse and his brother Samuel “Si” Newhouse inherited Advance Publications, a privately-held media company that controls a plethora of newspapers, magazine, cable TV and entertainment assets, from their father.

Cox Family – Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cox Enterprises , owned by the billionaire Cox family, counts The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a number of other daily papers among its many media investments.

Jeff Bezos – The Washington Post

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post for $250 million in 2013. Since beginning his run for president, Trump has accused Bezos of using the Post to get tax breaks for Amazon and sending reporters after Trump.

John Henry – The Boston Globe

Billionaire Red Sox owner John Henry purchased the Boston Globe in October 2013 for $70 million. Henry agreed to purchase the Globe just days after Bezos acquired the Washington Post.

Sheldon Adelson – The Las Vegas Review-Journal

In December 2014, Las Vegas casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson secretly bought the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The newspaper’s own reporting outed the billionaire buyer, who reportedly arranged the $140 million deal through his son-in-law.

Joe Mansueto – Inc. and Fast Company magazines

Morningstar MORN +2.16% CEO Joe Mansueto made his $2.3 billion fortune at the investment and research firm he founded in 1984.

Mortimer Zuckerman – US News & World Report, New York Daily News

Real estate billionaire Mortimer Zuckerman is the owner of both US News & World Report and the New York Daily News. Zuckerman serves as chairman and editor-in-chief of U.S. News & World Report, which he bought in 1984.

Barbey family – Village Voice

In October 2015, investor Peter Barbey bought the Village Voice, a New York City alternative weekly, through his investment company Black Walnut Holdings LLC for an undisclosed price.

Stanley Hubbard – Hubbard Broadcasting

Media mogul Stanley Hubbard is CEO of Hubbard Broadcasting, which has 13 TV stations, including a number of ABC and NBC news affiliates in the Midwest, and 48 radio stations.

Patrick Soon-Shiong – Tribune Publishing Co.

On May 23, Tribune Publishing Co. announced that L.A. doctor and pharmaceutical billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong’s Nant Capital was investing $70.5 million into the media company, making Soon-Shiong the second-largest shareholder.

Warren Buffett – regional daily papers

Warren Buffett, as CEO of Berkshire HathawayBRK.B +%, has invested in a number of small newspapers and owns about 70 dailies today.

Viktor Vekselberg – Gawker

Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg’s investment arm, Columbus Nova Technology Partners, bought a minority stake in Gawker in January 2016 for an undisclosed amount.





Google’s GDELT Project: The 2016 Campaign Television Tracker — Who Said What?

The GDELT Project: As part of our efforts to leverage the Internet Archive’s Television News Archive for understanding the role of television in politics, we’ve created the following dashboard, updated each morning, that records how many times each US presidential candidate was mentioned on each of the major television networks monitored by the Archive.

These are based on scanning the closed captioning records of each broadcast, so are subject to some degree of error, so absolute counts may contain a certain margin of error. The Archive enforces a 24 hour rolling delay, so the most recent date displayed is 24 hours ago.

The Archive currently monitors a selection of national networks (Aljazeera America, Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, Comedy Central, FOX Business, FOX News, LinkTV, MSNBC) and a growing set of affiliates across the country.

While the Archive monitors many other stations, these are the ones that have mentioned the political candidates a meaningful number of times.

All news shows on each station are monitored with the sole exception of Comedy Central, in which only the The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore, and At Midnight With Chris Hardwick are monitored due to their focus on current events.  See the Tracker page




How the American news media blew the election and didn’t care

The Election word-for-word as it appeared here at TheLatest.Net — starting with the end of the election and working back because this little slice of political weirdness is probably more interesting that way.

Well, there you have it, another election decided. Only this one was one of the strangest I’ve ever covered. One candidate who didn’t really have much a message for the heartland (as so many people between Nevada and Virginia kept telling me, Hillary Clinton “forgot us”) but seemed to feel she deserved to win, and another candidate who used a crude form of show business to grab and hold the spotlight while preaching a message of nationalism in what appeared to be a distant echo of Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign.

With Donald Trump’s win, you can expect people to run for office all across the country, people with high public awareness (movie folks, athletes, corporate types and the like, people you’ve already heard of) because politics is a lot like show business. And you know when Hollywood has a hit, it inspires all kinds of imitators and sequels, most of them rather dismal.

Trump is apparently a hit, so expect imitators and sequels, most of them rather dismal, hoping their name will grab you at the voting booth, so they don’t have to spend all that time on trivial matters like policy, vision and public discourse.



We can begin to wrap up our light coverage and criticism of Campaign 2016 not by citing the justified anger many still have over the treatment of Sen. Bernie Sanders by the Democratic Party nor of the bizarre treatment of Donald Trump by the party with which he ran. Both candidates were desirable alternatives to the Democratic candidate, who carried a lot of political baggage and seemed to millions of American voters to be arrogant and strident.

The Democratic Party is now trying to second guess what went wrong because they came so close to winning the election. And they did have the major news media on their side, as a majority of Americans believe and as polls confirm.

It is the unprecedented effort by those media to minimize the Sanders campaign, invalidate Trump’s campaign and facilitate the Clinton campaign that could be considered the greatest crime committed during the election, because the news media are positioned as a powerful service to help inform the electorate, and the media in siding with the losing Democrats delivered a monumental disservice to the nation.

Those practicing this advocacy journalism are bringing down their own profession and they don’t even seem to care. Maybe they don’t even know.

There were a few post-election apologies here and there, but the news troops continue to bash Trump even as they finally offer some recompensive coverage to Sanders, now that it’s too late.

Sanders still has his dignityy and remains loyal to both Clinton and his followers and Trump is president-elect, but the major news media are shamed and deserve to be shunned.

Yet they are now spinning yarns about the rise of so-called “fake news.”

Perhaps Stephen Miller at HeatStreet put it best so far in his piece, “The Mainstream Media Has Only Itself to Blame for the ‘Fake News’ Epidemic,” but he fails to note that by trying to define “fake news” the major media are diverting attention from the, well, deplorable job they did in their disservice to democracy.

Miller wrote: “CNN has run segments suggesting that asteroids cause climate change, and black holes can materialize in Earth’s atmosphere and swallow 747 passenger planes . A CNN panel led by left wing commentator Sally Kohn declared their “hearts are out there marching” with protestors in Ferguson as they all raised their hands to mimic the Black Lives Matter protest mantra — “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” — echoing an alleged gesture during a police shooting that was declared one of the year’s biggest lies (ironically) by the Washington Post.

“…NBC was also caught airing edited audio of a 911 phone call in a way that made Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman come across as a racist, when the full context was far more mundane.

“Meanwhile, NBC Universal has invested $2 hundred million in BuzzFeed and Vox. There isn’t enough space to list all of the times Vox failed at delivering “real news.” I will simply let Deadspin explain: “46 Times Vox Totally Fucked Up A Story.”

“Rolling Stone continues to put out a magazine despite a verdict of malicious defamation of a UVa administrator related to its publication of, “A Rape on Campus,” a story about a brutal rape that, as it turns out, never happened.

“Another such case is Emma Sulkowicz, the Columbia University rape activist who carried a mattress on her back to protest University administrators for not expelling her alleged rapist. Except the rape never happened. Still, the New York Times ran a piece exulting Sulkowicz titled ‘The Art of the Political Protest.’”

Newspeople have been defined as the “fourth estate,” and while it is perhaps fitting that at a time when all three branches of government are finding wide distrust among citizens, so are the news media. It is also fitting that the news media sided with what seemed like a sure winner only to have that winner — and the news media’s reporters’, anchors’, editors’, producers’ and executives’ reputations as unbiased — go down in flames.

We at are working newspeople who are aware of the stresses and complexities in reporting news both in print and broadcast, but we recognize that beyond human nature’s tendency to bias news stories in small ways, there is no excuse for the incompetent bias toward one candidate and against another consistently, blatantly and with malice aforethought.

It’s not about journalism anymore. It’s about saying outrageous things (“Why You Can’t Be a Christian and Vote for Trump;” “Is Trump a Bigot, a Xenophone, or Is He Just Crazy?;” “Hillary’s Strategy: Lay Low and Let Trump Make a Fool of Himself,” major news headlines).

And it’s about click-throughs, click-bait, getting people to click on your outrageous story so the advertisers will come.

“Fake news” sites depend on click-bait too.

In that sense, the “fake news” sites that the news media are now decrying are just like the major media — they both want to make more money by creating outrage. That has not been traditionally the job of news reporting.

But maybe those days are over. Maybe advocacy journalism is here to stay and objectivity is on its way out. Maybe journalistic “oohs and ahs” about the mighty New York Times and Washington Post and CNN are now misplaced. Or disgraced. Maybe we really are heading backwards to the Yellow Journalism of 100 years ago.

If so, too bad, really, it was good to have news media you could trust to at least try to present all sides of a story; it was great work trying to uphold that trust by doing extra work, digging a little bit deeper in reporting — but if its all about click-throughs and advertising and provocative headlines and even propaganda, then the “fake news” sites are just doing a better job.

So among the majors even after the election, the bias is still there against Trump and to a lesser extent Sanders; there is much reporting on the “fear” and “crying” going on among “heartbroken” Americans in the wake of the election.

And little regard for the fact that there is still a war in Syria, there is still simmering hatred in the Middle East, Europe is hanging by a thread in several ways, some of America’s friends are turning against us and our economy is in shambles even though we’re still constantly told of the great strides we’re making economically.
And little regard for the folks from “flyover country” who’ve had enough.

Little regard for how a growing number of Americans are resentful of the mass of opinion-shapers both in news and in politics. Isn’t “opinion-shaping,” they might ask, propaganda?

And little regard for the courageous resistance by voters — courage to resist being talked into voting for one candidate while the other candidate is vilified.

Courage, as Dan Rather used to say.

Courage indeed, America.


Associated Press headline: “Tanzanian rats will train to sniff out trafficked pangolins” — Now that’s click-bait. Maybe the “false news” websites should try out this sort of thing.


11/21/16 — Donald Trump’s media summit was a ‘f—ing firing squad’— “Donald Trump scolded media big shots during an off-the-record Trump Tower sitdown on Monday, sources told The New York Post.

“It was like a f–ing firing squad,” one source said of the encounter.

“Trump started with [CNN chief] Jeff Zucker and said ‘I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed,’ ” the source said.

“The meeting was a total disaster. The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing down,” the source added.

A second source confirmed the fireworks.”



“Think again about how he prevailed. There are a handful of major events during a general election that give the nominees a chance to showcase themselves, their judgment and their vision. One is the selection of a running mate. Another is the staging of the conventions. A third is performance in the debates. Hillary Clinton did better than Trump on all three tests, though Trump’s team believes the debates did not fall so decisively in her favor…
“In other words, Trump came out the loser on virtually every aspect of how campaigns are usually evaluated. Yet today he is staffing his administration and Clinton is still absorbing the brutal shock of having lost a race she believed was hers…

“It has long been noted that the conditions have existed for an independent candidate to run a serious campaign for president. The level of dissatisfaction with Washington, the anxiety over the economy and the generally sour mood about the future provided the foundation for a campaign by someone from outside the system, who is tied to neither political party and with a promise to shake things up.”


BERNIE SANDERS LETS LOOSE ON THE NEWS MEDIA: “While he admits that there are exceptions, Sanders views contemporary political journalism as “dedicated to personality, gossip, campaign strategy, scandals, conflicts, polls and who appears to be winning or losing …”

“He points to a CNN interview where he was told that his elbows were not sharp enough for the national stage, and recalls the countless pundits who wrote him off as “fringe candidate.”

“An example of this circus-style coverage, Sanders asserts, came when his vehicle was pulled over for speeding by the Iowa State Police as his team sought to quickly shuttle him around the state. Unfortunately for Sanders, a New York Times reporter who was shadowing him for a story was in the backseat as the scene unfolded.

“’The state trooper was professional and polite and gave us a warning,’ Sanders writes. ‘Not so, who, it goes without saying, made it a major part of her coverage.’

“To Sanders, the lack of national media attention to America’s pressing problems is “like living in a parallel universe” compared to what he heard from attendees at his events.” — Politico “The Democratic primary according to Bernie Sanders” 11/11/16


Investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson: “Regardless of who is your chosen – or least favorite – presidential candidate, independent minds should be concerned about the latest revelations in the news media’s unseemly relationships with government and political actors. While there are many responsible journalists working today, inside documents and leaks have exposed serious lapses constituting the most far-reaching scandal our industry has known. It’s our very own Newsgate.” It’s Newsgate 2016.


Bernie Sanders makes the point we have been trying to make for months: “I am saddened, but not surprised, by the outcome. It is no shock to me that millions of people who voted for Mr. Trump did so because they are sick and tired of the economic, political and media status quo.

“Working families watch as politicians get campaign financial support from billionaires and corporate interests — and then ignore the needs of ordinary Americans. Over the last 30 years, too many Americans were sold out by their corporate bosses. They work longer hours for lower wages as they see decent paying jobs go to China, Mexico or some other low-wage country. They are tired of having chief executives make 300 times what they do, while 52 percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent. Many of their once beautiful rural towns have depopulated, their downtown stores are shuttered, and their kids are leaving home because there are no jobs — all while corporations suck the wealth out of their communities and stuff them into offshore accounts.” — New York Times 11/11/16

But the singling out of corporations is just diversionary, because one must hold our “leaders” and politicians of all stripes accountable for this mess, as well. Even as corporations go greedy, our leaders hold the regulatory keys to straightening out the mess but they don’t use them. Indeed, some of them are reaping rewards from such greed. Such incumbent politicians — and Mr. Sanders could be included — are part of the problem.


WILL NAILS IT! “The mood in the Washington press corps is bleak, and deservedly so.

“It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that, with a few exceptions, we were all tacitly or explicitly #WithHer, which has led to a certain anguish in the face of Donald Trump’s victory. More than that and more importantly, we also missed the story, after having spent months mocking the people who had a better sense of what was going on.
“This is all symptomatic of modern journalism’s great moral and intellectual failing: its unbearable smugness. Had Hillary Clinton won, there’s be a winking “we did it” feeling in the press, a sense that we were brave and called Trump a liar and saved the republic.

“So much for that. The audience for our glib analysis and contempt for much of the electorate, it turned out, was rather limited. This was particularly true when it came to voters, the ones who turned out by the millions to deliver not only a rebuke to the political system but also the people who cover it. Trump knew what he was doing when he invited his crowds to jeer and hiss the reporters covering him. They hate us, and have for some time.
“And can you blame them? Journalists love mocking Trump supporters. We insult their appearances. We dismiss them as racists and sexists. We emote on Twitter about how this or that comment or policy makes us feel one way or the other, and yet we reject their feelings as invalid.

“It’s a profound failure of empathy in the service of endless posturing.”

— Will Rahn, political correspondent and managing director, politics, for CBS News Digital, The unbearable smugness of the press

HERE’S WHY PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP REPRESENTS THE FUTURE: From Bloomberg, insight into how Trump’s message bypassed cities to reach the rest of America, which is substantial and has been overlooked for many years by both the Democrat and Republican establishments. Trump’s effort is to bypass the elitist few and the rich in the cities and reach for the disenfranchised everywhere. It’s a remaking of the Republican Party into a party for all disadvantaged Americans, not just some.

“Back in May, speaking to Bloomberg Businessweek about how he intended to remake the Republican Party, Trump laid out precisely the message that would activate these voters in November. “Five, 10 years from now—[it will be a] different party,” he said.

“You’re going to have a worker’s party. A party of people that haven’t had a real wage increase in 18 years, that are angry. What I want to do, I think cutting Social Security is a big mistake for the Republican Party. And I know it’s a big part of the budget. Cutting it the wrong way is a big mistake, and even cutting it [at all].”
— Trump’s Data Team Saw a Different America—and They Were Right

IN CLINTON’S WORLD, there is finger-pointing and blame everywhere for the Clinton loss, which points up an essential problem with the whole organization — no one will stand up and accept responsibility for the failure of the campaign, unless the candidate herself does so. Clinton World dumbfounded by Hillary’s election defeat.



POLITICO: POLL SHOWS SHY TRUMP VOTERS A MIRAGE: (11/1/16) “According to a POLITICO/Morning Consult study conducted by Morning Consult this past weekend and released Thursday, a hidden army of Trump voters that’s undetected by the polls is unlikely to materialize on Election Day.

The study — which was composed of interviews with likely voters conducted over the phone with a live interviewer, and other interviews conducted online without a personal interaction — showed only a slight, not-statistically-significant difference in their effect on voters’ preferences for president.”

POLITICO: WHAT IF EVERYONE’S WRONG?: (11/2/16) “What if the polls are wrong? And more: What if Clinton’s vaunted data operation and ground game don’t deliver? What if there is, in fact, a “silent majority” of Trump fans? What if Clinton’s banked stash of early votes is insufficient? What if, as President Barack Obama’s former campaign manager David Plouffe not so affectionately describes nervous Democrats, the “bed-wetters” are right?”


Tuesday’s stunning win by Donald Trump sent stocks and oil prices plunging, Republicans into self-examination and Democrats into shock; already there is blame being placed on third-party candidates for causing Democrats to lose the presidential election. The Trump campaign defied political tradition and expectations with a small “ground game” of workers and far fewer media advertisements.

The New York businessman used the media to get attention and in the end the irony of it was that his opponent was counting on Trump’s use of the media to put his foot in his mouth — but suddenly began sounding savvy and serious as the final weeks drew on. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton then jumped in to save her campaign without realizing that it was too late.

The Trump win is a repudiation of conventional American politics, the Republicans who held him at arms length and those who outright insulted his efforts, the major news media who treated him as an abomination and joke right up to the end, an arrogant Democratic Party that after eight years in power grew self-satisfied and out-of-touch with most Americans and it was a repudiation of professional politicians who grow rich everywhere.

Most of all, it appeared to be a repudiation of the elites, a class of Americans who, by virtue of education or conceit (often both), believe they are smarter and more entitled than average citizens.

Their defeat should send them running back to their offices to reconsider their ways, including their constant belittling of those who are not as well off or not as well educated as they are. Because their elitism is still classism, their arrogance is still boorish and their attempts to rule the speech and behavior of their fellow men and women fairly demonstrates the totalitarian approach of which they so often accuse their opponents.

Their lack of sympathy for those they’ve they’ve taxed while they wined and dined, flew the world on jets paid for by their minions and tried to reshape the planet in their political self-image was almost allowed to spiral out of control. But Tuesday night, in an instant, their power was drained and their influence stymied.

They tried to shape the political competition into a battle of men vs. women, ethnics against ethnics, whites against blacks, when all along it was just a class manipulation by the powerful against the little people — until the little people saw through it and their power over them was no more, thanks to some ideas that began to come to fruition in the year 1774.

Such elitists should do some long self-examination before again believing that their attempts to steamroll Independents and independent Americans can be made into slop to be fed to the masses they abhor.

Donald Trump
Mike Pence
Kellyanne Conway
US Senator Jeff Sessions
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani
Congressional Republicans
Americans who voted for Donald Trump


Never-Trumpers, which include some of those below
Senator Bernie Sanders
Democrats who voted for Bernie Sanders
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton
President Barack Obama
Clinton Foundation Board of Directors member Chelsea Clinton
Clinton adviser Donna Brazile
Vice President Joseph Biden
Soon-to-be former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid
Billionaire George Soros
Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton
Senator Ted Cruz
Tim Kaine
Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta
Congressional Democrats
The New York Times
The Washington Post
The New Yorker
Esquire Magazine
The Huffington Post
The Dallas Morning News


OUR FRIENDS IN THE NEWS MEDIA DO A DISSERVICE TO INDEPENDENTS AND INDEED ALL AMERICANS: The day before the election, 2016, and an unprecedented bias on the part of our colleagues in the major news media continues. For those political Independents who are interested in the two candidates who promise change, it’s been a sorry year if you get all your information from people in the news business. Bernie Sanders could barely get traction considering all the attention paid to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; Wikileaks revealed the internal Democratic Party campaign against Sanders, who now says he’s now returning to his Independent roots.

And the news media have largely served up a daily diet of articles subtly or overtly attacking Donald Trump. By election day they will have left, as comic strip character Pogo used to say, no turn unstoned.

One of the points of being an Independent is increased skepticism of party lines (for instance, Democrats say Wilileaks of Dem emails are being directed by Russian leaders to interfere with this election, but where is the proof? The FBI says there is no proof. But that’s the Dem’s story and by golly they’ll stick to it, truth or not).
Say what you will about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but if Clinton wins we will continue to be fed talking points and party lines from the Democratic National Committee for another four years (just as we’ve been getting the past eight years) — it does not appear Trump will be delivering a lot of party propaganda, considering his party has mostly disowned him.

One of the great ironies of this election is the fact that The New York Times and especially Washington Post writers and editors declared the whole thing over just two weeks before Election Day. Democrat Hillary Clinton was so far ahead, the pundits proclaimed, that she should be measuring the drapes. It only took a week for her poll numbers to drop so precipitously that the day before the election Clinton was tied with Trump in many polls and was losing her grip on key states that “guaranteed” her election.

Never mind the Wikileaks emails indicating that CNN and Wolf Blitzer have a cozy relationship with the Democratic Party, passing tips and favors back and forth. Or that Politico reporter or the Washington Post people who appeared to collaborate with the Clinton campaign.

See, the problem here is this: Both our trusted news media and our trusted presidential candidates can no longer be trusted and the fault is their own. Americans expect to at least be treated with fairness and a modicum of honesty, but instead we get not only lies and deception but intelligence-insulting bias and partisan propaganda almost everywhere we turn. It is no wonder politicians and news media are among the least trusted people in America.

These people seem determined to prove H. L. Mencken right when he said, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” Article after article has been written about the “anger out there” among the electorate; is it any wonder considering the condescension and smirking arrogance of the many running for office — or those in office for that matter? they know why the anger persists. The only way there can be legitimate dismay over public anger is if politicians, pundits and the pretty, pugnacious boys and girls of the press don’t look around and see the corruption they’re party to, perhaps literally.

As Hollywood producer Norman Lear lamented last week, Americans deserve a selflessness on the part of our leaders and indeed our news handlers, a spirit of statesmanship that appears to be gone. Debates degenerated into insult matches and sloganeering. Candidate speeches degenerated into pandering sessions espousing whatever the candidate thinks the public wants to hear, ignoring the colossal problems facing the United States (rampant corruption, potential for war in the Middle East that could spiral out of control, the increasing division among American ideologies, ascendant foreign nations arming themselves and challenging America, increasingly decrepit infrastructure across the nation, an economy built on credit that is already out of control and most of all the lack of jobs, the lack of satisfying work and paychecks that increase instead of decrease in value over decades).
Some people say Americans get the leadership (and information) they deserve. Not this year.
(For background see Ken Silverstein’s “This Election Has Disgraced the Entire Profession of Journalism”)

And here’s how NBC’s chief Washington correspondent instantly loses credibility: Campaign collusion: Is CNBC’s John Harwood too close to the Clinton operation?


We were among the first to report the story below, from reporter Al Kemp: Turns out the suspect didn’t have a gun. There have been reports that someone tweeted a threatening remark about Donald Trump the night before the rally, so emotions may have been running a little high Saturday night:

BREAKING 11/5/2016 — DONALD TRUMP RUSHED OFF STAGE BY SECRET SERVICE DURING RALLY IN RENO, NEVADA: 6:13 PM (Pacific Time) the Republican presidential candidate was speaking when supporters near the front of the crowd began yelling. Trump, unable to understand what they were saying, noted that it was probably a Hillary Clinton plant. “How much are they paying you, $100,000?,” he asked, the started to resume his speech when people in the front of the crowd began yelling what appeared to this listener to have been “he’s got a firearm!” Secret service officers grabbed Trump and rushed him off the stage as plainclothesmen jumped to the front of the crowd and appeared to subdue one person on the floor. A police officer appeared to join in and after about 3 minutes officers — including what appeared to be heavily armed federal agents — escorted a balding man out of the arena. A minute later Trump reappeared, saying “No one said it was going to be easy for us.” He then resumed his speech after thanking the Secret Service.


PLANNED IRRELEVANCE: Nationwide polls show there’s a strong belief that the news media are biased in favor of Hillary Clinton in the presidential race and it’s obvious that once-dominant newspapers like The Washington Post are shoveling daily dirt on what they hope is the grave of the Donald Trump campaign — but Dave Hohmann at the Post has some journalists chuckling at his latest attempt to bury Trump.

Hohmann wanted to know how the Republican is doing among the must-win voters outside Philadelphia, so he decided to spend a day bar-hopping there to find out, then he presented his findings at the top of the Post‘s Daily 202 news blast Friday. After bar-hopping for a solid day, Hohmann says the guys watching the Eagles game were white male (Trump demographics) but were also college-educated (not Trump demos, he says) so he concludes that Trump is perhaps in trouble in the City of Brotherly Love.

So what’s next for Hohmann? Perhaps he’ll check the local supermarkets one midday to see if he can find any men or women who will not vote for Hillary Clinton, and when he just can’t seem to find just one person who won’t, he can report his anecdotal findings in the Post as a major reason why Clinton will be our next president.


As polls continue to show that the American news media is held in low esteem by the majority of the public and accusations of bias in newspapers, broadcast and online media continue to increase, we’re reminded of a list sent by a friend at a Pennsylvania circa 2002:

The Wall St. Journal is read by the people who run the country.
The New York Times is read by people who think they run the country.
The Washington Post is read by people who think they ought to run the country.
USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don’t understand the Washington Post.
The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn’t mind running the country if they had time, but no one has pleaded with them to do it.
The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country.
The New York Daily News is read by people who aren’t sure who’s running the country.
The New York Post is read by people who don’t care who’s running the country, as long as there’s a scandal involved.
The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren’t sure there even is a country, much less that anyone is running it.
And The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country.


Documentary maker Ken Burns has been talking pro-Clinton politics lately — perhaps it’s more to the point to say he’s anti-Trump, though we have yet to see him weigh in on Bernie Sanders — but he frames himself as usually non-political. We must remind Mr. Burns of his September 30th 2011 opinion piece in USA Weekend in which he denounced those who “divide the country over one issue,” referring apparently to immigration. The article’s angle was about his then-recently completed documentary about Prohibition, co-directed with Lynn Novick. He drew a parallel between the righteous indignation of Protestants over the drunkenness of the Jazz Age. He notes that the outlawing of alcohol in 1919 pitched America against itself and Protestants against the influx of Catholics. This article was from 2011, remember, so he wasn’t talking down Donald Trump, he was talking down divisive politicians. Barack Obama was president at that time. Mr. Burns, contrary to his I’m-not-usually-political stance today, has indeed often been political in his time. Though he says he’s certain that Hillary Clinton is the best choice for president, he noted in his article five years ago that “I think that when you have a sense of absolute certainty, you are in trouble.”


As a political Independent, watching the paranoia on the part of news media this election cycle can be amusing. The New York Times appears to be so phobic about Donald Trump winning the presidency that they can find him just about everywhere. Opinion writer Jim Dwyer sees the ghost of Trumpin an old episode of The Addams Family (ABC-TV 1966) in which Our Hero Gomez Addams hires a financial guy who squanders the Addams bank account. Why, Dwyer seems to be saying, that’s just like Trump! If that’s not pathetic enough, maybe the National Review can find the ghost of Hillary Clinton in an old episode of “Bewitched” or something.


If you’ve been playing chicken with the United States by continuing to pump lots of oil onto world markets hoping to put US shale companies out of business but now you’re starting to run out of money yourself, do what Saudi Arabia is doing — change calendars, of course! Go to a calendar that’s two days longer and you’ll save money on payroll. Apparently the Saudi chicken game backfired on them; and even though a number of American oil companies are outta business, Saudi officials are cutting budgets drastically to pay for the game.


Web citizen journalism is still on the rise, exemplified by Citizens Audit and its investigation into Media Matters and MM’s apparent ties to the Super Political Action Committee (PAC) known as American Bridge 21st Century. A PAC is a donation-taking group aimed at convincing the public of something, in this case to vote exclusively for Democrats.

Wait, but Media Matters is supposed to be a “not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center” — yet the two share office space? Citizens Audit looks at some odd discrepancies in the organization(s) books. This follows Citizens Audit’s look at how the “Clinton Campaign Illegally Purchased “Research” from a pro-Democrat Super PAC.” That Super PAC, again, would be American Bridge 21st Century, the name of which BTW comes from a late 1990s speech by President Bill Clinton. So we have one group (Media Matters) claiming to be non-partisan while sharing office space with a committee raising money for Democrats. So that would likely make any non-partisan claims by MM, maybe, what? Lies?


For nearly 18 years, has been a loose consortium of working journalists; this report included tips and news from journalists friendly with this website.



Quoting Alexander Hamilton:

“Because the passions of men [and women] will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice, without constraint.”


Mike Shiloh is an award-winning broadcast journalist who began in radio in 1981 and has since contributed regularly to AP Radio and Television, CNN and ABC News, while also anchoring for network radio on News24-7 and for top local stations including KILT-Houston, WINK Newsradio/TV Ft. Myers/Tampa FL, KRBE-Houston; has also regularly contributed to KTRH-Houston and is an editor at The Texas Energy Report and