Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘propaganda’

New poll shows Native Americans are NOT offended by “Washington Redskins”

Posted by sanityinjection on May 20, 2016

Remember the big pressure campaign a couple of years ago to force the NFL’s Washington Redskins to change their allegedly “offensive” name? President Obama and 50 Democratic Senators proclaimed their support for this “civil rights movement”. And then, as with so many armchair liberal cause celebres, it just seemed to disappear; the professional protesters moved on to “Black Lives Matter” and suddenly the supposed legions of mortally offended Native Americans didn’t seem like such a compelling issue.

Now comes a clue as to why the pressure campaign hasn’t been revived. A new Washington post poll of 500 Native Americans across the country indicates that 9 out of 10 are not offended by the name “Washington Redskins”. 7 out of 10 said the word “redskin” was not offensive in general, and 8 of 10 said they would not be offended if a non-Native American called them by that term. These results mirror the findings of a previous poll in 2004. Naturally, Native American “leaders” continue to reject these poll findings, as will the mostly rich, white, left-wing politicians who were the prime movers behind the whole issue. (Never mind that these same politicans spend virtually no time advocating for the things that Native Americans say they need, like decent schools.)

The whole thing would actually be comical if it weren’t for the giddy participation of the mainstream media in whipping up hysteria to aid in this phony campaign. (In this regard, kudos to the Washington Post, which remains a faint glimmer of some journalistic integrity amongst the sad detritus of formerly respectable left-wing newspapers, for publishing this poll. See also a thoughtful WashPost op-ed on the issue here.) It should be of concern that the sources from which most Americans still get their news are demonstrably more interested in pushing an ideological political agenda than in any kind of factual reporting. You need look no further than the recent New York Times attack piece against Donald Trump, which went to a great deal of effort to characterize Trump as a misogynist based on his pattern of hitting on women as a rich single man. Keep in mind this is the same publication that consistently defended Bill Clinton for sexually harrassing and having sex with women as a rich married man. See Camille Paglia’s excellent destruction of this pathetic propaganda here.

Meanwhile, if sports teams’ use of cliches offensive to Native Americans is the issue, how come there hasn’t been any fuss at all about the Cleveland Indians’ continued use of the “Chief Wahoo” logo? Why hasn’t their trademark been revoked? Answer: Because the Cleveland Indians kissed the ring: Whenever anybody complains, they hide Chief Wahoo for a while, using alternate logos and uniforms, until the subject dies down. This appeases the professional Left, because what they really want is not actual civil rights change so much as acknowledgement of their power and righteousness. Kiss their asses and they’ll let you off with a slap on the wrist; dare to suggest that the emeperor has no clothes, as Redskins owner Dan Snyder has done, and you reap the whirlwind of attacks from their subservient media allies.

The point is not that the Washington Redskins or their owner, a wealthy successful man and organization, are some kind of sob story. The point is the one made so famously by pastor Martin Niemoller. With apologies to him: “First they came for the Washington Redskins, and I said nothing, because I was not a Redskins fan.” One day it’s a sports team. The next day it’s climate change “deniers”. The target changes with the wind, but the tactics are the same. Always ask yourselves: Cui bono? (Who benefits?)

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Posted in Domestic News, Politics, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dissecting media bias: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and the anatomy of propaganda as news reporting

Posted by sanityinjection on December 3, 2015

I call your attention to this superb piece by Emmy-winning investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson. In it, she uses the recent controversy over Donald Trump’s remarks about Muslims in New Jersey celebrating on 9/11 to illustrate the fundamental double standard the mainstream media applies to politicians they don’t want the American people to vote for.

It’s hardly a secret that many mainstream media reporters, editors, and talking heads abhor Mr. Trump and are appalled by the possibility of him becoming President. (I happen to agree with them.) Ms. Attkisson uses a technique she calls “the Substitution Game”, giving specific examples of how the media’s behavior would be very different if the person in question were someone they approve of such as President Obama or Hillary Clinton. She also points out how convenient it is for Ms. Clinton’s campaign to have the national media painting her potential election opponent as dishonest even as polls suggest that perecptions of her own dishonesty are one of her biggest problems with voters. Attkisson isn’t necessarily suggesting a well-orchestrated media conspiracy, but rather a culture of bias that permeates the major television news networks and newspapers.

If this bias were to be stated in its most naked form, it would be something like this: Dishonesty, in the form of intentional misrepresentation of facts or outright lying, is OK as long as it is in service of good liberal causes, but it’s abhorrent whenever it’s done by someone we don’t like or someone who disagrees with us. This fits in with a more general theme that the end justifies the means: that it is OK for the “good guys” (which in the view of so many influential media members means the liberals) are justified in lying, cheating, stealing, or doing whatever is necessary to advance their noble aims, but the “bad guys” – Second Amendments rights advocates, climate change skeptics, etc. –  are abhorrent if they use the same methods, because they have the wrong aims.

Attkisson is not saying that the media should not challenge counterfactual claims by public figures. Rather, she is questioning why they only seem to beat the drum about such claims when those figures are on one side of the political spectrum. When a huge segment of the broadcast and print media spends a lot of time making a huge deal out of controversial statements by Mr. Trump while deliberately downplaying and even ignoring those made by Obama and Clinton, even a relatively savvy news consumer who is not paying close attention can, over time, absorb that implication of what is important. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how propaganda works.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Spanish judge exposes hypocrisy of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez

Posted by sanityinjection on March 1, 2010

Honestly, sometimes I think I could write a whole blog just about Venezuela’s strutting thug of a caudillo, Hugo Chavez. I’m sure others have done just that. Whether it’s trying to rule Honduras through one of his bullyboy stooges or declaring that the United States somehow deliberately engineered the Haiti earthquake as a pretext to take over that country, Chavez is a headline news writer’s dream – always good for some copy.

 For now, let me just comment on one aspect of Chavez’ foreign policy. As even the most casual follower of international issues knows, Chavez casts himself as the chief opponent of the United States in the Western Hemisphere. Everything in Latin America is the fault of US imperialism, according to Chavez. Chavez reserves particular spite for neighboring US ally Colombia. Relations between Venezuela and Colombia have deteriorated drastically since Chavez gained power. Chavez frequently accuses the US of planning to invade Venezuela with Colombian help to overthrow him, while at the same time denying accusations that Chavez’ Venezuelan military and intelligence services have provided aid to the FARC rebels in Colombia.

In fact, it is Chavez, and not the United States or Colombia, who is actively engaged in attacking other nations by funding and training rebels and terrorists. Support for this comes from a judge in faraway Spain, whose recent indictment accuses Chavez’ government of not only harboring terrorists from Spain’s ETA and Colombia’s FARC, but actually presiding over explosives training involving both groups.

Of course, allegations of this type have been coming from the US and Colombia for a while now, but this comes from an essentially neutral source (personal friction between the Spanish King and Chavez notwithstanding.) It will be much harder for Chavez to brush this off as US propaganda, though it is unlikely to have any direct consequences.

Meanwhile, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which has members from Argentina, Brazil, and Chile as well as the US, has issued this 150-page report detailing the systematic way in which Chavez has undermined democracy, freedom, and human rights in his country. Again, not new information, but when you put it all together in one place it’s a staggering condemnation. The Commission, of course, like its parent group the Organization of American States, is toothless, but in Chavez’ world, sometimes propaganda counts for a lot. It is getting harder and harder for Chavez to present himself and his government as victims when the evidence is mounting that they are the victimizers.

Posted in Foreign Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Latest Al Qaeda video not intimidating, just embarrassing

Posted by sanityinjection on September 23, 2009

It was only a few years ago that the release of a propaganda video from Al Qaeda would have been an event of significant concern around the world. In addition to the frenzied speculation over whether it was Osama bin Laden in the video and if he was alive and healthy, nations would increase security in the assumption that the video presaged a significant new attack was imminent.

How things have changed – and it shows the progress that has been made in the war on terror. The video released by Al Qaeda today will probably go little remarked upon and excite little distress in Western capitals. In fact, several aspects of the video may prove embarassing to the terrorists.

First of all, the video is intended to commemorate the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks – yet they couldn’t mange to get it online until today.  If posting a video on the Internet (something 11 year olds are proficient at) is a challenge that requires two weeks to accomplish, that doesn’t fill one with respect for Al Qaeda’s ability to coordinate a new terrorist attack.

The video is full of the usual denunciations, but this time they have cast a wide net. Al Qaeda apparently is unhappy with George Bush, Barack Obama, the Saudi royal family, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas,  the Fatah Palestinian faction, other Arab leaders, and Israel (of course). One wonders who is left in the Middle East that they *do* like, other than themselves.

Then there’s the terrorists’ attempt to take credit for the world financial crisis by attributing it to the results of 9/11 and the war on terror. Although the cost of the war on terror certainly was one factor among many that placed strain on the US economy, I think one would be hard pressed to find an economist (Paul Krugman does not count) who would back up this claim.

The funniest part is when they complain of torture committed by US troops in Afghanistan. Seriously?? The guys who behead journalists and blow up civilian women and children are outraged by military interrogation techniques? If their warped notion of jihad tells them they can do pretty much whatever is necessary to nonbelievers in the course of their struggle, by what possible rationale would they expect us to abide by a higher standard? (The fact that we hold ourselves to a higher standard is not the point. The firebombing of Dresden during WWII by the Allies may have been a violation of the rules of war protecting civilians, but if the person complaining was Adolf Hitler, sympathy was unlikely to be forthcoming.)

It is a truism that propaganda tends to get more shrill when the people who produce it feel they are losing. The wider Al Qaeda casts their net of condemnation and the more brazen their complaints against the US, the more it indicates that the terrorists are on the defensive. Which is good news for everybody else.

Posted in Foreign Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

NEA using your tax dollars to fund left-wing propaganda

Posted by sanityinjection on August 26, 2009

Many Americans have probably never heard of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). It is an “independent” federal agency established in 1965 that gives out grants to support various arts projects. The money for these grants and the administration of the agency comes from your tax dollars, to the tune of about $150 million per year. Admittedly, this is small change in the federal budgetary world.

The NEA briefly appeared on radar screens in the mid-90s due to objections from conservatives over its funding of controversial (sexually explicit and often offensive) works by artists such as Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano. After losing a court case when it subsequently tried to refuse funding to four artists over content concerns, the NEA at Congress’ direction subsequently stopped directly funding individual artists, in favor of supporting group projects and collaboratives, arts education and leadership initiatives.

In addition to concerns over offensive content, conservatives often ask why the federal government needs to be funding the arts at all rather than leaving it to the states. But again, at such small dollars the average American probably could care less.

Now, however, there is a new wrinkle. As of this month, the NEA is now using your tax dollars to organize and promote art projects specifically designed to advocate for President Obama’s political initiatives, including health care reform and climate action. Filmmaker Patrick Courrielche reveals the details on the Big Hollywood blog:

http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/pcourrielche/2009/08/25/the-national-endowment-for-the-art-of-persuasion-patrick-courrielche/

Now let me be clear. Most of the artistic community probably needs little urging to support left-wing causes. If they want to make left-wing political art, they have a right to do so. The problem comes when tax dollars are being spent to deliberately promote and encourage left-wing political art specifically. Courrielche describes the content of a conference call for artists held by NEA and the White House together (despite NEA being supposedly an “independent” agency!):

“We were encouraged to bring the same sense of enthusiasm to these “focus areas” as we had brought to Obama’s presidential campaign, and we were encouraged to create art and art initiatives that brought awareness to these issues. Throughout the conversation, we were reminded of our ability as artists and art professionals to “shape the lives” of those around us. The now famous Obama “Hope” poster, created by artist Shepard Fairey and promoted by many of those on the phone call, and will.i.am’s “Yes We Can” song and music video were presented as shining examples of our group’s clear role in the election….We were “selected for a reason,” they told us. We had played a key role in the election and now Obama was putting out the call of service to help create change. We knew “how to make a stink,” and were encouraged to do so.

Courrielche continues:

“…the “nation’s largest annual funder of the arts” is attempting to direct imagery, songs, films, and literature that could create the illusion of a national consensus. This is what Noam Chomsky calls “manufacturing consent….I’m not a “right-wing nut job.” It just goes against my core beliefs to sit quietly while the art community is used by the NEA and the administration to push an agenda other than the one for which it was created….Artists shouldn’t be used as tools of the state to help create a climate amenable to their positions, which is what appears to be happening in this instance. If the art community wants to tackle those issues on its own then fine. But tackling them shouldn’t come as an encouragement from the NEA to those they potentially fund at this coincidental time.

And if you think that my fear regarding the arts becoming a tool of the state is still unfounded, I leave you with a few statements made by the NEA to the art community participants on the conference call. “This is just the beginning. This is the first telephone call of a brand new conversation. We are just now learning how to really bring this community together to speak with the government. What that looks like legally?…bare with us as we learn the language so that we can speak to each other safely… “ 

Is the hair on your arms standing up yet?”

Let me reiterate that the purpose of the NEA has always been to fund what artists already want to do. It is not to “suggest” what those artists should be doing, or to use them for political purposes. That’s called propaganda. What if the NEA under the Bush Administration had sought to encourage art projects in support of the Iraq War? Not that they would have had much luck, but can you imagine the liberal outrage? Why do I always have to flip it so the right wingers are the bad guy in order for people to understand when something is inappropriate?

Unfortunately, the passing of Senator Kennedy will suck up all the political oxygen for at least the next two weeks. Any legislator attempting to bring attention to the NEA’s abuse of taxpayer funds will be greeted with this headline: “With Kennedy Not Yet Buried, Knives Already Out For His Favorite Programs.” So as usual, they’re going to get away with it, at least for the time being.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 26 Comments »