Category Archives: Media

Obama commutes Chelsea Manning’s sentence

By Jordan Fabian, The Hill, 01/17/17

President Obama on Tuesday commuted the prison sentence of former Army soldier Chelsea Manning, according to the White House.

Manning was convicted in 2013 of leaking classified information about U.S. national security activities that were later disclosed by WikiLeaks.

The 35-year sentence Manning received was the longest ever imposed for a leak conviction. Manning has already served seven years of her sentence and will now be released on May 17, 2017.

She was originally set to be released be released in 2045.


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Racism With No Racists: The President Trump Conundrum

by Tressie McMillan Cottom, tressiemc, 11/25/16

President-elect Donald Trump ran on a fundamentally racist platform.

President-elect Donald Trump promulgated the idea that Mexicans are rapists, blacks are trapped in inner cities, Muslims are terrorists and that America could only be great “again” by becoming what it was in the 1950s when all manner of de facto and de rigeur racism was common.

That is probably why noted and admitted white racist groups supported his candidacy, celebrate his election and congratulate themselves for winning.

For the media, this presents a special kind of problem for which modern media is poorly equipped….

keep reading, including graphs of frequencies of terms and euphemisms for racism in the New York Times, at tressiemc

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My Ironic Defense of Brian Williams

by Cenk Uygur, DailyKos, 2/9/15

First, let me say very clearly from the beginning that I am biased in this case because I know Brian Williams a tiny bit and he has always been fundamentally decent to me.

On the other hand, I’m the guy who wrote the piece Why Brian Williams is Irrelevant. The current controversy surrounding him ties in well with that article I wrote many years ago. People think that Brian Williams is the problem because he exaggerated a war story about Iraq? Are you kidding me? The whole war was based on a monstrous lie that almost the entire media enabled and perpetuated. That’s the real problem.

If the rest of the press scapegoat Williams and feign righteous indignation over his lie, as they are in the middle of doing now, it will be unbearable. Where were all of those people when we were being sold a bill of goods on Iraq? Oh I know, on air. They sold us those lies en masse. So, please don’t pretend you have integrity now. Please don’t pretend that the real problem is an exaggeration about a tiny story in the middle of the war.

Sixty-nine percent of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was personally responsible for 9/11 when we invaded Iraq. That is the biggest failure of the media I have ever seen. Has anyone apologized for that yet? Has anyone been fired for that yet? If you want to fire all of the executives and editors who let that lie be sold to the American people through their media outlets, then I’m a 100% with you. Then we can also fire Brian Williams.

Don’t get me wrong, Williams was definitely part of that media machine. His much bigger issue is that he never told his audience that he had generals on the air who are being paid by defense contractors to push more war while they pretended to be objective analysts. That’s a firing offense! But then you’d have to fire almost everyone at NBC, wouldn’t you?…

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Comcast, the Koch Brothers, and corporate consolidation

by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, 2/16/14

Comcast, the largest US cable company, is in the news these days for planning to merge with the second largest US cable company.

As David Hiltbrand writes in “Many questions raised about cable merger,” Philadelphia Inquirer, February 14, 2014:

So, is the proposed $45.2 million megamerger of Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable a good deal?

Depends on whose cable is being spliced….

Comcast sure is good at splicing. It already absorbed NBCUniversal (itself a merger baby) in 2011. Enough is enough, already too much, according to “Former FCC commissioner calls Comcast-TWC merger a terrible idea” by Chris Welch, The Verge, 2/14/14.

Even if further consolidation, moving in the direction of monopoly, is not in consumers’ interest, one thing you can bet is that the merger would be good for the Koch Brothers and their political allies.

You could say that just on general principles, since the 1% of megacorporations are increasingly intertwined, both economically and politically.

But what made me think about it concretely was “The Koch Brothers Left a Confidential Document at Their Donor Conference: A list of one-on-one meetings between VIP donors and the Kochs and their operatives offers a revealing look into their mighty political machine” by Andy Kroll and Daniel Schulman, Mother Jones, 2/5/14. The list of big “confidential” donors who earned insider meetings with the Kochs and other Americans for Prosperity insiders includes:

Tina and Craig Snider: They are the children of Ed Snider, a founding contributor of the Ayn Rand Institute and chairman of Comcast Spectacor, a sports and entertainment company that owns the Philadelphia Flyers.

It always intrigues me that plutocratic American right-wingers feel such an affection for an anarchistic Russian reason-worshiping Jewish atheist, but there it is, one more subject for future inquiry.

According to Wikipedia, “Comcast Spectacor“:

The company was formed in 1974 by Flyers founder and chairman Ed Snider as Spectacor, the parent company of both the Flyers and the Spectrum. Snider had been instrumental in getting the Spectrum built in 1967, and assumed control of the arena in 1971. He sold a 63% stake in Spectacor to Comcast in 1996, remaining the renamed Comcast Spectacor’s chairman.

Owner(s): Ed Snider (37%) Comcast (63%)
Parent: Comcast
Subsidiaries: Philadelphia Flyers, Global Spectrum, Ovations Food Services, Paciolan, New Era Tickets, Front Row Marketing Services, Wells Fargo Center, Flyers Skate Zone, Paciolan

Comcast Spectacors’ web site is a real lesson in the concentration of economic power in this country:

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) ( is one of the nation’s leading providers of entertainment, information and communications products and services. Comcast is principally involved in the operation of cable systems through Comcast Cable and in the development, production and distribution of entertainment, news, sports and other content for global audiences through NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation’s largest video, high-speed Internet and phone providers to residential and business customers. Comcast is the majority owner and manager of NBCUniversal, which owns and operates entertainment and news cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, local television station groups, television production operations, a major motion picture company and theme parks.

On and on the concentration goes, moving our “free economy” toward a handful of companies in every endeavor, all run by and enriching the same sorts of people, for whom even “the 1%” is too broad a label.

The Koch Party’s (the term is the New York Times’s) chief front group, Americans for Prosperity, supports Comcast’s campaign on its web site:

Network or “Net” Neutrality regulations ban Internet Service Providers
(ISPs), such as Comcast and Verizon, from managing their networks by
prioritizing certain web traffic. The main issue lies in whether or not ISPs
should be permitted to exercise data management – when an ISP interferes
with a certain kind of Internet traffic, also known as “traffic shaping.”

That’s a big issue to the right wing: they want the internet service providers to be able to charge customers differential fees for different types of service, and Comcast is in the center of it…

continue reading at Politics: A View from West Chester

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