“Playing the refs”

If you’re not abreast of these phenomena, than you’re simply not involved. Enjoy…

‘Trump Is Doing All of This for Zuckerberg’, Zeynep Tufekci

“Playing the refs by browbeating them has long been a key move in the right-wing playbook against traditional media. The method is simple: It involves badgering them with accusations of unfairness and bias so that they bend over backwards to accommodate a “both sides” narrative even when the sides were behaving very differently, or when one side was not grounded in fact. Climate-change deniers funded by fossil-fuel companies effectively used this strategy for decades, relying on journalists’ training and instinct to equate objectivity with representing both sides of a story. This way of operating persisted even when one of the sides was mostly bankrolled by the fossil-fuel industry while the other was a near-unanimous consensus of independent experts and academics.”

”Impartiality”

In a time of demagoguery, “impartiality” and “establishing the facts” are contradictory terms. Another sterling example of the Fourth Estate failing the people, speaking for power and making a mockery of the facts. Enjoy 😏

‘Why is the BBC bending to the Government’s definition of impartiality?’, Owen Jones

“When faced with a very clear choice between yielding to government pressure or serving viewers by telling them the truth, BBC management, shamefully, chose the former,” says one Newsnight source. “BBC bosses believe this helps preserve the organisation. All it will really do is sign its death warrant.” 

The Sunday Times

 

In a week that saw leaked documents revealing Boris’ Brexit deal will, contrary to his statements, create a border between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain, the Sunday Times decided to lead with this front cover, showing Boris shaking hands with Santa and a very evil looking Corbyn attached to a front page reviewing old anti-Semitism investigations into Labour Party members (not politicians, I should stress, simply people who paid the membership fee online).

 

Oh yeah, and a fun piece about a happy doctor…

 

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Sajid Javid: “Leave Our Helicopters Alone!”

 

Chancellor Sajid Javid let his personal hysteresis get the better of him earlier this week, during a series of TV and radio interviews.

 

Most eye-catchingly, he claimed on Sky News that homelessness had peaked in 2008 under Labour and had since come down by half. Of course, as some (though only some) in our broken Fourth Estate pointed out, homelessness, which had steadily declined from 2004, was at around 41,000 in 2010; today, it is estimated to be around 84,700.(1)

 

Earlier in the day, on Radio 4, he gave a particularly desperate performance, claiming a Labour government would be the worst thing to have ever happened to this country. This was evidenced, in part, by his claim that the last Labour government had caused the 2008 Great Recession (a claim most, even within his own party, have given up on). The Irony of all this, of course, is that Mr Javid himself, while at Deutsche Bank, used to sell collateralised debt obligation (CDOs). For those of you who don’t know what a CDO is, I have attached a very useful clip explaining them below. Needless to say, they go a fair bit further in explaining the cause of the global economic crash than “Labour did it”. Enjoy:

 

The Broken Fourth Estate

 

On Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock hurried over to Leeds to get a grip on the scandal caused by photos of a 4 year old boy receiving medical treatment on the floor of Leeds General’s A&E.

 

Unsurprisingly, he was not met with open arms. Accosted by several angry locals and Labour activists, at one point, one of Hancock’s aids walks into the a Labour activist from behind. The established press exploded with news of Labour activists turning violent and assaulting the gentleman.

 

We know the media is bias. It is not difficult to quantify* nor difficult to understand – there is no conspiracy theory, merely the very Anglican fact that, when access to the media is the exclusive reserve of the upper middle classes, the media generally has an upper middle class bias. What continues to astound me, however, is how increasingly debased the profession has become. Perhaps it is a symptom of social media, whose clickbait profits have helped kill investigative journalism and spawn “client journalism” (Peter Oborne’s term for ‘journalism as decoration of power, or court reporting’. In other words, vanity pieces in exchange for privileged access, as exemplified by Laura Kuenssberg). Perhaps the unmeritocratic social order has reduced the qualitative stock of our journalists or, maybe, it is our own partisanship which has rendered balanced reporting an unwanted anachronism and perpetuated sensationalist commentators blind to their own hyperreality (Baudrillard’s term for “reality” as presented by a media largely reporting on other media reports).

 

Either way, all we know is the media revealed their hand with how desperately quickly they pointed the finger and the silly wanker walked into the bloke’s hand.

 

Judge for yourself:

 

http://Labour Activist Wrongly Accused Punching Tory Adviser

‘The Global Machine Behind the Rise of Far-Right Nationalism’

 

Europe is facing insidious soft-coercion from hostile foreign agents. The greatest irony being that this threat to national sovereignty is distilling through the politics of “globalised” nationalist movements.

 

A truly brilliant article, shining a light upon our darkest threats.

 

 

‘The Global Machine Behind the Rise of Far-Right Nationalism’, Jo Becker

Lovett or Leave it

I’m a big fan of the podcast Lovett of Leave it, brought to us by the chaps and dames at Crooked Media.

A weekly round up of the American political situation, packed into 40 minutes of hilarity as well as experienced insight into Washington’s machinations. The panel varies from political leaders, grassroots activists and organisers, writers and comics, and an impressive representation of identities.

As the most amateur of hacks, capable only really of repetition, I thought I’d transcribe a few bits and pieces. Re-listening and typing these prose out was a joy in itself.

 

Big Little Lies with a Smokey Eye, 15 June

 

John:

 

Mark Zuckerberg: He wants to rate girls’ faces, next thing he knows, he’s built a one of a kind monopolistic corporation that monetises human attention by pumping our brains with micro-doses   of every human emotion until the emotions themselves are commoditised and manipulated by partisans, corporations  and foreign intelligence organisations where the value of the emotional response – to keep us paying attention to adds and sharing ad-sponsored content with friends and strangers – becomes more important than the truth and integrity of the underlying content itself.

 

Also, Plants vs Zombies.

 

Anyway, earlier this week, a story broke that Mark Zuckerberg had been trying to contact Nancy Pelosi over his refusal to take down a fake video that was slowed down to make the Speaker sound drunk. But Nancy Pelosi isn’t picking up his calls. Wow, that doesn’t sound like her at all. She seems like the kind of person who would just love to shoot the shit with someone looking to apologise without actually fixing a problem.

 

But Zuck keeps calling and, lucky for us, someone on Pelosi’s team has leaked the voicemails and we’ve got ‘em.

 

Let’s hear them.

 

Voicemail #1

 

“Heeeey, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco. Born Nancy D’Alesandro. Age 79. 5 Children. It’s Mark, Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook, the company. I know you’re experiencing a feeling called “being upset” about our refusing to take down a video that was manipulated to make you sound drunk and I am sorry. Not sorry enough to take it down but sorry in the sense that I’ve been told to be sorry. Which now: am. Good news though, soon your noradrenaline levels will return to baseline and the human proclivity to seek out novelty (a product of our brain size and the conditions that led to bipedalism) means you will soon stop thinking about this regularly and, eventually, at all. FUN! End transmission.

 

Voicemail #2

 

Hi Speaker Pelosi, it’s err Mark from Facebook again (and imagine I’m sweating through this).

I was skimming your private messages, which you consented to when you clicked “I accept these terms” in order to use the WiFi at the Marriott Grand Marquis in 2013, lot to unpack in there!

Are you mad that a manipulated video is being spread by malicious right wing groups and that Facebook isn’t taking it seriously enough, even though we are about to enter a new age of incredibly realistic fake videos that will only further erode the trust people have in our society? Trump already lies about what we see with our own eyes. What if we can’t trust what we see with our own eyes? Tough questions. But, you know what else is a tough question? How do we get the average 16 year old girl to spend 15 more seconds absorbing make-up tutorials on Instagram – because that 15 seconds translates into millions in additional revenue? Another tough question: What is the truth? Boom! Anyway, call me back. Bye Mum. Oh er Fuck.

 

Voicemail #3

 

WAZAAAAA!? Like Budweiser, one of my favourite beer brands. I always choose Budweiser when I’m consuming liquid. In fact, maybe we can sort this out over some crisp, wet alcohol. It’s on me, Mark. I’ve got cash to burn – ya know, ever since we got that four hundred million dollars in tax refunds thanks to a sweet loophole. I just wanna say, Mark to Person, how sorry I am for everything. The video, the privacy violations, handing over user data to Cambridge Analytica, letting Facebook become a swamp of misinformation to White Nationalism, allowing Facebook to be used to incite violence against and ethnic minority in Myanmar. Oh, and I’m sorry about Facebook’s role in swinging the 2020 election – just wanna get ahead of that one too (cos let’s face it, I haven’t learnt a fucking thing).

 

Voicemail #4

 

Speaker Pelosi, I’m sorry to call so late. Actually, you know what, I’m not sorry, Nancy. I’ll be the first to admit, Facebook hasn’t lived up to it’s founding ideals: Me, experiencing a sense of belonging the way it seemed to come to athletic, handsome boys who don’t always look like they’re trying to think of what to say. How do they do that? How do they know what to say? I watch them and think, “Do they know how lucky they are?” Do they experience what it’s like to be lost in a moment – to laugh and not think about how the laugh sounds to the beautiful girl, who smiles back but never is more than a friend – to be truly, easily wanted? I believe Facebook is a force for good. I cannot be convinced otherwise. I see the complaints of people who pass for smart in Washington and New York. I connected the world. I did it. Do I get a thank you? Do I get a parade? No. All I get is 66 billion dollars and a lot of negativity. You’re not even mad at me, not really. All the liberals on Twitter (or, as I call it, Tiny Angry Facebook), all the complaints about our algorithms, what if all it boils down to not liking people? When you get bitten by a shark, you don’t blame the ocean. No-one complains that the Nile is too long of a river because a Hippo ate a tourist. I gave humanity a tool to build a better world and then you hairless, upright gorillas with smart phones use it as a weapon to fight each other for scraps. So, keep that in mind. Your quarrel is not with me, it is with your creator. And don’t you dare endorse Elizabeth Warren’s plan to appoint anti-trust regulators who will reverse Facebook’s merger with Instagram. I can’t compete with Instagram again. They just added a thing in stories where the song lyrics pop up when you choose a song. HOW WOULD I COMPETE WITH THAT!? Sorry, let me get myself together here. OK, I’m OK. Let me check my notes, “I’m a genius; Facebook is perfect; Humanity is the problem; I would give your face a high rating if that matters – I still secretly rate all the faces; bye forever, Zuck.”