Saturday, January 27, 2007

New Course on Media History in Berkeley

A new course entitled "History of U.S. Media" begins January 27th, at Berkeley City College. This course covers interesting material that will include Retropoll over the next few months! Stay tuned...

vp rp

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Global Opinion of U.S. Drops Further

The University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitude (PIPA) uses methods similar to Retropoll's. Steven Kull, their director, talks of more recent declines in world opinion concerning the U.S. and its foreign policy influences. Jim Lobe of the Inter Press Srervice states about the recent PIPA survey, "[I]n the 18 countries where respondents were asked the same question in each of the past two years, the latest poll found a substantial drop in the percentage who said they viewed U.S. influence as positive, from 40 percent in 2005, to 36 percent last year, to 29 percent in 2007." That should be alarming. Follow the trend of expended global empathy and political capital from the post-9/11 invasions to now...


And more...

Nancy Snow on Public Diplomacy

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Belated MLK Day Posting...

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." MLK, Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963

"I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered." MLK, Beyond Vietnam, 1967

Some have noticed that more than “the public” has turned against Mr. Bush and the Iraq occupation. A political split within powerful moneyed circles has been turning into a gulf. More of the rich and powerful appear disposed to back efforts to dispose of Mr. Bush in order to save the U.S.reputation, stability and dominance. We might call this playing the “democratic will of the people” card. Note the growth of a previously non existent Media effort to expose Bush and his core Media base---the liars at Fox News Corp and some of the CNN rightist commentators.

While a lot of decent folks think the Democrats are spineless, the Demos—perhaps even led by some Republicans—will move against the President if these shifts within the political economy and the Media continue to accrue. Money and Media have influence. Dick Cheney and Condoleeza Rice see what is happening and so are appearing everywhere trying to shore up their dikes--to little avail. A year ago a fabricated terrorist attack in the USor a fabricated Iranian attack against US forces in Iraqmight have helped Bush expand his wars, but now it seems more likely that with any new provocation the finger would point first toward the oval office. Almost any unilateral action by Bush may bring on impeachment. Bush and company have backed themselves into that corner and struggle there along with their various failing appointed friends: Al-Maliki and Chalabi, Olmert and Calderon.

Nevertheless, even if the President should fall—and I hope it comes to pass—no one should confuse that housecleaning with a Capitalist intent for a democratic renaissance to fortify democratic rights or to withdraw from the battlefield for dominating the world’s political economy. The war on terror, a fraud created by the US government to conceal its role as the promoter and funder of most terror and many dirty wars in the world—is not about to end without a long and arduous fight. Were Martin Luther King Jr. alive today he would surely be one of the leaders of that fight.

vox populi

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Is an attack on Iran imminent?

There's a lot of buzz in various circles that Bush's recent speech on Iraq revealed an intent to soon attack Iran. Actually the Bush regime has been wanting and planning to attack Iran for quite some time--according to State Department insiders--but Bush and gang seem to have been so far scared off by their total loss of credibility and public support over Iraq. While the mainstream media is pretty much downplaying the now public saber rattling on Iran, voices as diverse as progressive journalist Robert Perry and rightist Pat Buchanan as well as the Independent newspaper in England think this is serious business. One would suggest that Bush's sending a third aircraft carrier battle group to the region has to be taken more seriously than the media or the Congress seems to take the situation. What is particularly ominous over the past week or so is the leak or intentional release by Israel of a plan to attack Iran's research sites with "bunker buster" low yield nuclear weapons. This may of course be nothing more than a psychological technique, intended to terrorize and confuse the Iranian government. However, Perry has suggested that with Bush and Co stymied on their own intent to act, they might be giving Israel the green light. If the Israelis or US do attack Iran, whether after a fabricated incident or just because they can, that action will not only kill lots of innocent people and put the Iranian public (which has shown a serious interest in secularizing the Iranian government)back into the camp of their Ayatollah leadership and stir the fires of anti-Americanism and of expanded war (That much is not new). But it has even larger repercussions because of an unanswered question: would an attack on Iran further consolidate opposition to George Bush's insane plans to divide conquer the Middle East or might it have the opposite affect of bolstering the flagging and failing presidency. I have no crystal ball, but I offer that if Israel attacks Iran, the Democrats, especially some of the most liberal Democrats will support the action. Their unfailing support for whatever aggression Israel perpetrates has been proven over and over again. In a speech to AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee)a year or more ago anti-Iraq War California Senator Barbara Boxer stated that the Iraq war is in no way related to the Israel-Palestine crisis. The latter she said is not about Palestinian rights nor about the Middle east in general, but only about Israel's right to exist. This widespread liberal Democrat outlook, blind to Israeli aggression, predicts that the Democrats in general--and the liberals in the Senate in particular--will back Bush and Israel if they start a war against Iran. The unpredictable consequences of that type of a new and united front for war in the US polity, emmanating from a US and Israel coordinated action, could plunge us into world war, even if that was not Bush's intention.

So what does this have to do with media criticism? The answer is not difficult. As Retro Poll has shown in several polls the public, because the corporate media in the US has conspired to keep that public so ignorant of the real conditions that exist on the ground for the Palestinian people--the conditions of apartheid, blantant robery of land and resources, and unrelenting terror against their lives and livelihoods, preventing them from even keeping their homes and farmlands or an economy--that U.S. public will continue to be too confused by such events to react forcefully against an expanding war, one that the media may describe as unrelated to US regional designs and be represented in the media as a "defensive" action by Israel against a potential nuclear threat by maniacs who simply want to kill all Jews. The problem we face regarding this situation, even if the worst does not occur, is how can the actual relationship of dominance of Israel over the Palestinian people be forced into the public discourse in the corporate Media?

vox populi

Friday, January 12, 2007

Why We Need Media Reform

Here's a great bit from The National Conference for Media Reform in Memphis, TN. This is a major event going on right now about why we NEED a media reform movement and what it should look like. Specifics on the participants at Robert McChesney's Free Press sponsored show are a must see!

For live updates from the national media reform conference see the Common Dreams website here. Thanks to for covering this important event.

The mainstream corporate press are really at the center of our current democratic and constitutional crisis. Let's really mobilize around media reform in 2007. Check out some of these links and stay tuned in!

Media Rights

Free Press

Project Censored

PR Watch

Media Alliance

Media Matters



And, of course, remember to check out Retropoll

Remember*--"A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both." James Madison

[The David Swanson piece linked above can be read below...]

Why Do We Need a National Conference for Media Reform?
Submitted by dswanson on Thu, 2007-01-11
By David Swanson

Here's why.

Bush just connected Iraq to 9-11 again, and the media will not tell you it was a lie.

Bush just gave a list of reasons why this time his escalation of the war will work. The reasons amounted to:

1)We'll have more troops.
2)We'll go into neighborhoods holding hands with Iraqis
3)Maliki won't "tolerate" any interference

A minute later Bush told us there will still be IED attacks and suicide bombings. The media will not point out that such actions ought really to count as interference.

Bush just announced that he wanted to share Iraq's oil profits with all of the Iraqi people, and the media will not examine what Bush is actually doing or even question his right to determine what happens to Iraq's oil.

Bush just said that Al Qaeda is "still" active in Iraq, and the media will not tell you that Al Qaeda's activities in Iraq really began when Bush attacked and turned the country into a training ground for terrorism.

Bush just issued a vague threat to Iran and Syria, and the media will not question his right to do that or the sanity of doing so.

Bush just claimed that withdrawing from Iraq would amount to siding with "extremists" which continuing to occupy Iraq would amount to siding with Iraqis. The media will not contrast this lie with public opinion polls taken of Iraqis.

Bush just claimed he was making Americans more safe with his occupation of Iraq. The media will not contrast this claim with any studies of the actual effects of the Iraq War.

Bush just claimed he cared about U.S. service men and women. The media will not ask our troops what they think. Veteran and military family organizations opposing the war will not be asked to comment for the morning headlines.

The media WILL report on Bush's posture, tone of voice, tie color, and attitude. The trivial will be made into the gargantuan. The important will be slipped in sideways, quietly, in the form of an unstated assumption that the "surge" is already underway and out of Congress's hands to stop – an action that would be indecent anyway.

The media will not ask or try to answer what Bush means when he says "victory." The media will not raise the question of what this war is being fought for.

The media will depict the anti-war movement as striving ultimately only for a rejection of the "surge." No mention will be made of efforts to de-escalate and end the war. And the media will continue to call the "surge" a surge, gradually dropping the quotation marks.

The media will not show us the Iraqi people killed and injured by our war.

And as long as Tucker Carlson is given air time, people will ask me if I'm one of THOSE Swansons. No, I'm not. I have no money. The anti-war movement has no money. And we have no media.

But we do have the blues and we are headed to Memphis:

*Turn on, tune in, and drop by the retro blog...more to come at Whose News!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Working Out Kinks...

So far people attempting to post to Whose News the Reality Checker have been blocked. Sorry, but it's our first attempt and we're working out the kinks. Hopefully, we'll get there soon. Please try again....and again....and again til it works. Thanks.

Retro Pollsters

Saturday, January 6, 2007

What it is!

This blog has been set up by some of us folks who work with Retro Poll ( I'm one. Us bloggers at Whose News, Reality Checker believe Media lie. We believe Media conceal. We believe Media distort. All this systematically and by intent. Aand not just Media owned by fascists like R. Murdoch--New Corp/ Fox--and Rev. Moon--Washington Times. Also Media that those ranting rightists love to call liberal like NY Times, SF Chronicle, Washington Post, Boston Globe. But beyond that, all national major Corporate Media, and that includes PBS. They are all funded by and connected ideologically to big money--corporations and high finance. Even if they tilt this way or that and reflect different ideas about how to use power, their job is to defend the idea of the necessity and inevitability of a class society in which a few profit at the expense of all others.(Oh, sure we get an occasional caricatured critical voice here and there, to diffuse criticism, but we are talking about the geshtalt--their censored stories which avoid obvious truths or bury the salient facts, their experts, the carefully selected TV house pundits). How many people know that the NY Times is a giant corporation, one of the Fortune 500, or that essentially all the major media are owned by either huge corporations or Wall Street interests? Or for that matter, that the Tobacco giants own a large section of the food industry.

The public can understand that Corporate Media is a fundamental part of Corporate Capitalism, and as such that Media producers, captains, produce Media that plays a leading cultural role in concealing and/or defending predatory behaviors, at least up to the moment these are exposed. The usefulness to big money of dominating the means of communication, and of culture in general, is obvious: to bolster the credibility of the political class and the facade of democracy, to prevent resistance to the U.S. government whose policies are pimarly directed by the expansionary needs of high finance, not of the general population.

Retro Poll shows how most opinion polls done for and publicized by Media exist to convince people that we Americans support these predatory behaviors and policies, including even many policies created to remove our public rights and the opportunities for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Retro Poll shows how this is done and why many, if not most, of the polls reported in the Corporate Media are constructed to reinforce a great big lie. In simplist form it's called bait and switch. Or garbage in, garbage out. If you repeatedly tell people Sadaam worked with the purveyors of 9/11 and has access to nuclear weapons, people will support a war and occupation of Iraq. Garbage in, garbage out.

But you can't fool all of the people all of the time and sooner or later you can't fool most of the people. That is why Mr. Bush is now in trouble. However, the Media did change it's uncritical stance on Bush. But when did Media criticism begin? Only as disaster upon disaster unfolded, as he was reaching the end of his rope, as the reality of his failures and duplicity and ruthlessness became undeniable in print, on TV, on Radio. Then they got out of the way, as if Media had nothing to do with the destruction of Iraq, the destruction of the Constitution, the removal of rights, the defense of torture, the fabricated generalized threat and fear of terror against the general population etc. Media remains the main source of news and info for the general public, but isn't it apparent that people are wary and becoming more aware? More folks are catching on to the damning role Corporate Media plays in our culture--from bogus news right on to making stardom and wealth the center of the universe while millions work in bad jobs at low pay; from selling us falsehoods to using sexuality to sell us everything in the world we don't need. Soon enough most people will understand that "Reality TV" isn't about reality but about distracting us from reality. That Media is as big a part of our problem as are corrupt politicians. The public is going to do a surprise reality check on the Media. Whose News? It's only a matter of time. So let's here from you!!!! and check out

Vox populi