Tag Archives: social criticism

Maher’s Show Accidentally Teaches You About Media

Typically pundits and roundtables don’t work so well in the sphere of constructive conversation about current events, and especially not about foreign policy. But sometimes Real Time With Bill Maher mines up some real gems (most of which don’t come from Maher himself).

What happened in this Real Time with Bill Maher clip from May 2013 is a perfect example of the consequences that come from a society more engaged in shouting than examining. While many people (and you might be included in this) roll their eyes over the thought of discussing Benghazi situation, (that was how long ago?) Glenn Greenwald mentions something that most liberals couldn’t find themselves to come to terms with: That when government officials make untrue statements on the air despite whatever team they may be on – their actions and statements deserve investigation and retribution when they prove to be false.

While Maher continued to insist that he didn’t know what the scandal was, Charles Cooke of the National Review Online added very beneficial and constructive reflections of how the media and its audiences turned to partisan distractions rather than actually addressing the issue and while this is slightly off-topic and not on point enough for Maher’s question-beckoning, it is very beneficial food for thought which I will come back to later.

Glenn Greenwald came in and supported Cooke’s claim that the polarization in coverage proved to be more distracting than beneficial, and came out with this awesome statement at 1:26

The problem is that this arose about 6 weeks before the election when everybody was desperate to protect their side, so Fox [coverage] was ‘this is the worst scandal ever’ MSNBC [coverage] was ‘Obama did absolutely nothing wrong, he acted perfectly as always’ and the reality was something in-between which was:

A U.S. ambassador was killed (there’s only been 6 times in our nation’s history when that happened) The president went on the air and other people did too and made statements that proved to be untrue about why the attack took place- that it was a reaction to this film, when in rea- that’s just a reality, whether they were lying or just an error, the statements they made were- it was untrue.

Maher: It was a fluid situation

Glenn: No but it it still- when the government goes on the air and says things that prove to be untrue that is a – something that needs to be investigated and it was in a place where President Obama and NATO had gone and invaded and bombed and changed the regime, I’m not saying it’s a huge scandal, but there certainly are questions when the government and political officials six weeks before an election say things about a major event like that prove to be untrue. There should be investigations even if the republicans are doing it for political ends the same is true when democrats were investigating Bush officials and saying ‘these are the worst scandals ever’

Maher then goes off and brings in a statement made by Cheney that security at the Libyan Embassy was typically stronger during the 9/11 anniversary under the Bush administration, and while there is a fair amount of irony in that statement, it’s clear that Greenwald’s statement is still lost on Maher.

What is perplexing and frustrating is that Maher, just like the left-leaning outlets that Greenwald and Cooke mentioned, refused to acknowledge that the government should be held liable and answer for the inaccuracies in the statements they were providing.

And therein lies the biggest problem that we can see in modern media reporting.

With no tenacity for the truth or expectation of accountability for themselves or from the government, the media turned to partisan talking points and bile-quality reporting because doing so covertly plays it safe when compared to turning press conferences into interrogations.

While ‘interrogation’ might seem like a strong word to use for this situation, is it not appropriate? Lately there’s been a shift in tone when it comes to the usage of that word to imply some type of malice or harsh-intent, but at what point should media and society break away from accepting non-answers and expect their elected leaders to not only answer honestly to questions from the press, but to also answer for their misinformation?

We see this happen in debates where candidates don’t answer questions directly and veer off course, or when they cite statistics that are unfounded, debunked, or misleading

As Glenn pointed out, the statements made by the President and elected officials at the time proved to be untrue, and at the time they didn’t answer as to why. The fact that the media never asked them shouldn’t be reason enough to not address an accidental dissemination of misinformation. I understand that when constituents are harnessed in by the party-line tactics, it’s hard to expect quality journalism to take hold, but where media fails, journalism– true journalism should never falter- and I believe that Glenn was advocating for that in his statements.

As Charles Cooke later mentioned, “The Scandal here is that the media, as it did during the Bush years sides with power, the media did not want to investigate this and so it reported a process story right from the beginning Mitt Romney attacks the President

After Maher persists in claiming ignorance over what the scandal is, he goes on to cite supposed interferences and limits to what the administration can take on, saying

“What’s the crime? Something bad happened in the world. Obama is supposed to micromanage everything that happens in the world? He’s got four million people under his charge.”

Glenn later interjects and adds,

“You don’t think that when the U.S. ambassador is killed and there are people within the state department saying that they were asking for help and not getting it and that the U.S. government went onto the world stage for a week and made claims about what happened that turned out not to be true, that that doesn’t merit any investigation?

After minor interruption by Joy Reid of The Miami Herald (Reid didn’t seem to share the same skepticism as her Herald colleagues Hannah Allam and Jonathan S. Landay) Greenwald, Maher and Reid’s voices collide together and Maher cuts off the conversation, sputtering in:

Okay, Alright, Alright let’s move-no, wait I don’t. I don’t and I’m bored with it let’s move on.”

Glenn smiles and sips from his cup, Joy Reid says OK- laughs and sits back, and the audience applauds enthusiastically from being saved from their duty as citizens that Glenn almost reminded them of.

If information is the currency of Democracy as Ralph Nader once said, it would seem that American media is doing its best to pick apart the collective piggy bank themselves. As hard as it may be, it’s up to us-the citizenry to count up what’s been exchanged and forged, otherwise the money that comes out of our mouth will never be any good.

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What could have been done to save James Foley?

Photo credit:Gawkr media
James Foley in hostage video released by ISIL, Photo credit:Gawkr media

As you’ve most likely heard by now, American journalist James Foley was beheaded by the Islamic militant group known as ISIL. The execution was carried out as promised by the extremists after they vowed to murder Foley, should the U.S. continue its renewed air strikes in Iraq.

Obama addressing the union over plans to eliminate ISIL on August 8th photocredit: PBS.org
Obama addresses the union over plans to eliminate ISIL on August 8th photocredit: PBS.org

The airstrikes were approved in early August, along with humanitarian relief- after president Obama announced that the U.S. would begin military action in Iraq as a response to increasing threats to the safety of U.S. personnel stationed there; he also cautioned about the possibility of ISIL sparking genocide in the region and stated that the U.S. could not turn a blind eye towards the conflict.

Foley’s parents claim to have been threatened by the White House, when they raised funds to pay off Foley’s captors.

“We were  told very clearly three times that it was illegal for us to try and ransom our son out and that we had possibility of being prosecuted” his mother, Diane Foley,  said on ABC news.

The National Security Council has taken an interesting approach to these accusations, with NSC spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden stating:

NSC spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden
NSC spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden

The law is clear that ransom payments to designated individuals or entities, such as ISIL [ISIS], are prohibited. It is also a matter of longstanding policy that the U.S. does not grant concessions to hostage takers. Doing so would only put more Americans at risk of being taken captive. That is what we convey publicly and what we convey privately.”

Many American media outlets as such as FOX, CNN, and MSNBC, fail to raise the important questions: How could this have been avoided, what could have been done?

As reported by Yahoo News, a mission to save Foley was conducted in August. Intelligence agencies believed that they had discovered Foley’s location in Syria, and “several dozen” special forces operations were deployed from aircraft carriers and engaged in a firefight with militants; but as the scene was later investigated, it became apparent that the location of the hostages (including Foley) had changed. The rescue mission was declared unsuccessful as a result.

What’s so interesting is that the release of this information by the White House marks the first time that the U.S. has divulged information about military personnel being “on the ground” in Syria since their civil war three years ago- yet they won’t comment on when the operation took place or how many hostages they were attempting to rescue in total during that operation. However, a detailed yet unconfirmed account of the rescue attempt by a resident in Raqqa paints a likely picture of how events unfolded in the James Foley rescue attempt, the account in its entirety it resembles the mission carried out to assassinate Osama Bin Laden.

THUMB
*unsubstantiated and unverified account of what happened on July 4th raid on Raqqa to save James Foley * photocredit: the telegraph Uk

Now to answer the questions set before:How could this have been avoided, what could have been done?

As you may know The White House has a pretty shoddy way of getting Americans back from oppressive regimes and terrorists. Bureaucratic red tape frequently halts or stalls negotiations in returning Americans to the homeland- and families are left to worry.

The situation between the Foley family and the White House  is somewhat understandable over  the concern of ransom funds being used to fund terrorist acts, but how long should a family wait to see results?

At the root of the kidnapping was the issue of  American intervention in Iraq and Syria combined with U.S. aggression against ISIL – which can be seen as another attempt of “nation building” on America’s part– this is what ISIL was attacking.

In the transcript of the beheading, the executioner- suspected to be Abdel-Majed-Abdel Barry, A.K.A. “Jihadi John- says the following:

“I’m back, Obama, and I am back because of your arrogant foreign policy toward the Islamic state. Because of your insistence in continuing your bombings in Muhassan, Alboumar, and Mosul dam, despite our serious warnings. You, Obama, have yet again, for your actions, have killed yet another American citizen. So just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knives will continue to strike the necks of your people. We take this opportunity to warn those governments who have entered this evil alliance of America against the Islamic state and back off and leave our people alone.

And:

“Any aggression towards the Islamic State is an aggression towards Muslims from all walks of life who have accepted the Islamic Caliphate as their leadership. So any attempt by you, Obama, to deny the Muslims their rights of living in safety under the Islamic Caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people.”

Notice the distinct omission of any hatred towards democracy or our culture, the freedom and equality of women within our social construct, or anything else resembling the “they hate us because they hate us” rhetoric that gets repeated time and time again by mainstream pundits.  All of the grievances mentioned are a result from an embittered regime struggling to fight back against foreign and domestic enemies.

Territorial_control_of_the_ISIS.svg

Keep in mind that ISIL is surrounded by enemies all over–  governments in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Iran are all hostile to it, and it also has the enmity of Al Qaeda, the Kurds, and other rebel groups in Syria- the truth still remains that ISIL is less of a threat than Al Qaeda. President Obama himself has even said on occasion that the amount of territory that ISIL controls is small and while debates go on about how much territory they currently control, it’s mostly agreed to look as pictured above.

As well funded as ISIL might be, there’s no reason to believe that they could afford a war on all fronts with their middle eastern rivals, as well as their European and American enemies.

To this day, ISIL has only vowed to carry out an attack against or our people, should we continue to attack them.

any attempt by you, Obama, to deny the Muslims their rights of living in safety under the Islamic Caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people.”

Though ISIL may have beheaded an American citizen- it was due to renewed aggression by the United States Government in what they see as a threat to their sovereign region, and considering that they claim to speak for  “Muslims from all walks of life who have accepted the Islamic Caliphate as their leadership”- makes it that much of a bigger target for its predominantly Muslim neighbors, and that much less of our problem.

*This is  post is not excusing ISIL,  nor is it an attempt to justify their actions, it is simply an attempt to put the events listed within context and to promote constructive discussion*

About OurDailyBlaze (OBD):

OurDailyBlaze is a political commentary and social criticism blog created with the uninformed reader in mind.

   Sure, some people might have seen the “news”  on cable stations or sensationalized headlines

…But true coverage goes beyond talking heads and sensationalized gibber-gabber:

Luckily for you, that’s not really our style.

OurDailyBlaze is (Y)OurDailyBlaze- Meaning that we want our readers and our publications to provide top quality analysis, depth, and attitude to every topic.

With that being said – many posts will seem to be derisive and in bad spirits by some; but don’t be dissuaded.

I follow multiple media outlets, candidates, journalists, and movements- all of whom fall short in different ways. I understand that no one is infallible, that this blog will be far from perfect- and that some media outlets legitimately try their best to inform their readers; but part of why I created this blog and this endeavor was to highlight commonalities in media that have become, in my opinion, far too frequent and far too careless.

It’s become a new American custom that prospective candidates and officials face no consequence or castigation for lying to spectators and audiences through  microphones and monitors across the globe. The assumption that a candidate would seek to defend their honor while maintaining candor and integrity has become a long lost remnant of optimists past.

What’s worst of all is that the watch dogs of those in power have surrendered their potential to create productive and meaningful change within our political climate- and in doing so they’ve sold out their loyalty to the uninformed and have disgraced the image of modern journalism. These actions: whether they be through intention or ignorance- are unacceptable.

OurDailyBlaze is committed to pointing out the ugliness of media coverage and metastasizing social mediocrity so that their perpetrators and perpetuates know that there’s a change a ‘comin

And  it’s spreading like wildfire

Welcome To The Blaze.

Photo Credit: http://www.verumserum.com/?p=19796
Photo Credit: http://www.verumserum.com/?p=19796