Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Today's Corporate News Agenda

His name is Milo Yiannopoulos, and he ran Breitbart News until the other day. Then something outrageous he once said about pedophilia lost him his job, ruined his book deal and rescinded his invitation to the annual CPAC confab. Bill Maher had just had him on his show to display what an open-minded liberal Bill Maher is, and what wusses other liberals are.

Maher is, of course, taking full credit for Milo's stunning downfall.
But following the show, Mr. Maher came under attack for the chummy and conciliatory vibe of his conversation with Mr. Yiannopoulos and for a panel segment, broadcast online, in which his guest made more inflammatory remarks that seemed to go unchallenged.
Speaking on Tuesday night, Mr. Maher, who counts himself as a liberal, did not sound particularly chastened by these assessments. He said he knew his interview with Mr. Yiannopoulos would never be satisfactory to some viewers. “No matter what I did,” he said, “it was never going to be enough for that slice of liberalism that would much rather judge a friend than engage an enemy, because it’s easier.”
 I suspect that Maher would much rather book an inflammatory right-winger than a boring right-winger, because outrage sells. The more that you can profit off divisiveness, the more that you can encourage hatred, the better it is for ratings and audience share and corporate profits. You have to supplement those standard and obligatory Moments of Hate with countering Moments of Outrage and Sanctimony. It's the duopolistic American way. It distracts the audience of consumers who used to be quaintly known as citizens. You are hereby divided between the Deplorables and the Enlightenees.

 I have to admit that I'd never heard of Milo, except for vaguely remembering the name from something I'd skimmed in Salon about some two-bit provocateur getting disinvited from a Berkeley speech and inspiring a small riot. But there is no avoiding him now. Today, he is all the outrageous mainstream rage. He is the distraction du jour.

Just quickly glancing at today's New York Times homepage, I counted four prominent articles (including the one quoting Maher above) about this provocative little creep of a guy. Unlike the Kardashians, though, he is not famous for just being a famous attention addict. He is famous because he is vaguely associated with Donald J. Trump.

And since the Powers That Be desperately want to get rid of Trump by any means possible, they will smear him with all the means at their disposal. If the tape about assaulting women didn't bring him down, then maybe his vague association with a guy who thinks pedophilia is O.K. will at least speed up the process. You see, the Deep State campaign is to gin up the liberal outrage to such a sustained fever pitch that Donald Trump will be history sooner rather than later. And then finally, the world can again be made safe for American hegemony and global capitalism on crack.

"Milo is the Mini-Donald!" dutifully shrills the ever-reliable Frank Bruni:
If you halved Donald Trump’s age, changed his sexual orientation, gave him a British accent and fussed with his hair only a little, you’d end up with a creature much like Milo Yiannopoulos.
He could be Trump’s lost gay child. In fact, Yiannopoulos, 33, has a habit of referring to Trump, 70, as “Daddy.”
Trump the father and Yiannopoulos the son are both provocateurs who realize that in this day and age especially, the currency of celebrity isn’t demeaned by the outrageousness and offensiveness through which a person achieves it.
The currency of celebrity wouldn't be half as valuable without the likes of Frank Bruni to keep it center-stage in his bi-weekly columns, which only pretend to be offended at such titillating outrageousness. (No, I didn't submit a comment to this crap. The liberal choir was dutifully outraged, with one of the most popular and prolific respondents lifting his own outrage directly from the Wikipedia entry on Narcissism.)

Meanwhile, resident Catholic conservative young fogey Ross Douthat not only couldn't help being titillated by the Milo distraction, he dutifully and artificially deepened the shallow discourse by purporting to ponder "The Meaning of Milo."

Douthat's lede is pure offended boilerplate topped off with a generous dollop of his trademark bigotry (not to be confused with the more lowbrow Trumpian xenophobia), describing Milo as
...a gay cross-dressing Catholic part-Jewish Brit who likes to boast about his sexual appetite, favors “ironic” racial and misogynist humor, and not occasionally describes the president of the United States as “Daddy.”
The only reason I still read the New York Times is because it's kind of amusing to see what kind of creative anti-Trump propaganda they'll cook up next. How many anonymous Deep State sources can be crammed into any one story? Which supposedly unrelated stories actually are part of the same predigested narrative?

Last week, for example, Andrew Ross Sorkin had a piece about plutocrat Steve Schwarzman's excessive birthday bash no longer being such a big deal now that we have a wealth of Trumpian excesses to sneer at. And lo and behold, this week the Times is running a special "wealth section" on the plight of the poor billionaires. The gist of these stories is that there really are a lot of virtuous tycoons out there who are not Trumpian grifters, but who "pledge" to give some of their money away to good causes, such as one another's charities. Or at the very least they park it in a tax shelter or hedge fund so that it has the potential to do a little good one of these centuries.

Better to be one of the eight benevolent billionaires now owning as much wealth as the bottom half of the whole global population than to be creeps like Malevolent Milo or Daddy Donald. The Times is only too happy to pick out your enemies for you.

The paper now as much as admits that it has an agenda to maintain the pre-Trump ruling order and to get rid of Trump in the bargain. One blurb on the homepage asks the moneyed class to "support a student subscription and inspire the future generation of readers." Suggested amounts in the click-boxes go up to $1,000, but larger donations are more than welcome.

"Supporting The Times is my way of fighting back against fake news and alternative facts. I wanted to give till it hurt," one alleged benefactor liberally gushed in the promo.

Another front page message which has begun appearing daily blatantly invites anonymous disgruntled anti-Trump whistle-blowers to write in and dish some dirt. Maybe this is where they got that big scoop about Trump hanging around the White House in his old bathrobe and how he can't even find the light switches as he roams the premises in all his demented ignominy.

In order to anonymously tip off the Times, though, you are ironically required to relinquish some of your privacy through the use a Facebook app:
WhatsApp is a free messaging app owned by Facebook that allows full end-to-end encryption for its service. Only the sender and recipient can read messages, photos, videos, voice messages, documents and calls. Though you can limit some account information shared to Facebook, WhatsApp still keeps records of the phone numbers involved in the exchange and the users’ metadata, including timestamps on messages.
 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, one of the world's eight top billionaires, is meanwhile doing his own dubious part to combat "Fake News" as his organization stays in the business of scooping up the personal information of all its participants for the sole purpose of marketing and profiting off as many of the world's human beings as is plutocratically possible.

He recently wrote a "manifesto" to his serfs subscribers asking them to ponder how they can support global institutions that he doesn't bother to name, but which, he says, will to serve to "bring humanity together." (If I had to make a wild guess about his meaning, I'd pick the International Monetary Fund, seeing how it brings humanity together by saddling poor countries with such onerous debt that they stay permanently tethered to the Lords of Finance, whether they like it or not.)

 
The plutocratic manifesto is a paradoxical feel-good study in innocuousness. It even has echoes of a more polite version of Bill Maher. For example,
Research shows that some of the most obvious ideas, like showing people an article from the opposite perspective, actually deepen polarization by framing other perspectives as foreign. A more effective approach is to show a range of perspectives, let people see where their views are on a spectrum and come to a conclusion on what they think is right. Over time, our community will identify which sources provide a complete range of perspectives so that content will naturally surface more.
If it reads like a political campaign document, it's a political campaign document. He's all "for keeping us safe, for informing us, for civic engagement, and for inclusion of all.”

And you thought Donald Trump was a scary dude? Mark Zuckerberg doesn't just want to be president, it sounds like he wants to be dictator of the whole world. He wants to Make the Globe Great Again.

Not only must we learn to love Big Brother, we must learn to love the worldwide neoliberalism designed to keep us numb as it extracts our dwindling money and directs the bulk of our wrath toward cartoon villains like Malevolent Milo.

7 comments:

El Lorenz said...

Thanks for this, thanks for all of your blogging.
Regarding your concluding section here, see Dave Eggers' novel, The Circle.
Also consider the quote attributed to John Swinton:

"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.

"There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty_four hours my occupation would be gone.

"The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press?

"We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

(Source: Labor's Untold Story, by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais, published by United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America, NY, 1955/1979.)

http://www.rense.com/general20/yes.htm

http://www.constitution.org/pub/swinton_press.htm

I was wondering if you have an angle on this quote to maybe illuminate better--though it seems pretty clear and timeless to me.

annenigma said...

Wow, Karen, you're really firing on all cylinders! I look forward to reading your every post.

Btw, I'd be willing to bet good money that the NYT student subscription scheme receives matching funds from the new Ministry of Truth.

Neil said...

Salon.com reported that President Trump toured the National Museum of African American History and Culture on February 21, 2017. The President was accompanied by HUD Secretary-designate Dr. Ben Carson and his wife Candy Carson.

http://www.salon.com/2017/02/22/that-is-really-bad-president-trump-discovers-the-horrors-african-american-slaves-endured/

"President Donald Trump visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture on Tuesday, where he saw first-hand the trials and tribulations the black community has faced in the United States. Trump received a tour of the museum, which he said was "a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its ugly forms.""

"...Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King Jr. and a former U.S. representative, accompanied Trump on the tour. She told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that there were two distinct moments that demonstrated Trump’s disgust of slavery."

"One part of the tour displays an auction block that slaves would stand on before being sold. King overheard Trump say, "Boy, that is just not good. That is not good.""

"Another part of the tour features a set of shackles that were used to restrain children."

""That is really bad," Trump apparently said. "That is really bad.""

Compare and contrast President Trump, and candidate Trump with his "Make America Great Again" campaign. Unfortunately America was founded on white supremacy. To "Make America Great Again" means embracing white supremacy. Compare the U.S. slavery constitution of 1787 with the Lincoln Constitution of 1863 with the Thirteenth Amendment. Our Nation's creation myth, the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, and all our institutions were based on white supremacy. Why is anyone surprised today that white supremacy enjoys such popularity across the good old U.S.A.?

Sardonicky commenter Bill Sprague wrote Jan-23-2017 in part, "This "democracy" has 2 great lies that it must get past before it can get "over" things: 1) genocide (on the natives) and 2) slavery."

https://kmgarcia2000.blogspot.com/2017/01/organizing-for-obamas-future.html

I replied in part on Jan-28-2917, "Yes, and land theft from the natives."

"Elizabeth Martínez writes "its part of our creation myth, or origin myth, which is the story people are taught of how the nation came into being" see What is White Supremacy?"

http://soaw.org/resources/anti-opp-resources/108-race/482-what-is-white-supremacy

"To admit the truth as you [Bill Sprague] articulated is to admit the USA is a nation born of white supremacy. The truth of white supremacy is still too unacceptable to many Americans. I have written about this issue too. For example, the American Civil War is not resolved in the minds of people living in my town, see" https://nosueorg.blogspot.com/2016/11/dear-president-obama.html

The United States will not unify and move forward until we deal with our own legacy of white supremacy, our creation myth of white supremacy. See my comments and links at https://kmgarcia2000.blogspot.com/2017/01/organizing-for-obamas-future.html

Karen Garcia said...

El Lorenz,
Thanks for the reading suggestions. I have The Circle, but like dozens of other books on my shelf, I haven't read it yet. Another good one is "Who Rules America?" by Dornhoff. If you can't find a copy, he has a website synopsis with updates:

http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/

I like to read fiction and nonfiction simultaneously. I've recently rediscovered Ursula K. LeGuin and am also deep into "I Will Bear Witness" by Victor Klemperer, a Jew who not only survived Hitler's Nazi Germany, but the bombing of Dresden. It's an excellent study of what a great psychological toll authoritarianism takes on "the Other" even when no physical damage or official incarceration occurs. It makes me appreciate the grim effects of Trump's own "gaslighting" techniques. Just the hint of a threat is a weapon.

Anne,

Thank you. I am running out of steam, though, so am taking today off!

Neil,

Trump is a master manipulator, veering back and forth between sympathy for the downtrodden and announcing policies that will punish them. See Gaslighting techniques, above.

You're absolutely right about White Supremacy being exactly what America is all about. Another good book is An Indigenous People's History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz. She also explores the American Creation Myth. And for historical background on the Trumpian America First, Us vs Them mindset, I also recommend "Trail of Tears" by John Ehle.

So many great books, so little time!

Patrice Ayme' said...

The New York Times blocked me, a long standing full subscriber, of many decades, from all comments. When I contacted them about this ban, they told me it was a decision of every single contributor there. My comments were always moderate and polite, no exception ever, but, to plutocracy, politeness and moderation is an insult: it is better to pursue outrageous lies.

It is indeed all deliberate distraction: the building up of Milo, his excoriation, his downfall are all similar to the Kardashian/Paris Hilton syndrome, making people famous for being famous. The (pseudo) "left" campaign of insult against Trump enables it to have no constructive ideas (say on how to implement Medicare For All), while at the same time having super sharks such as Soros, Buffet, or Mr. Z, Bezos, etc. present themselves as "good" plutocrats, laughing their way to ever more riches.

All the preceding characters made their fortunes by milking the state just so (for example, Buffet made more than 10 billion personally, from US health care; he has close associates who also made billions that way).

Juvenal criticized "panem et circenses". The likes of Milo are part of these "circenses". This is why he was promoted and made very rich, to start with. Predictably, he was going to say something real stupid and even unlawful, as he did, and this is more of the distracting madness.

Meanwhile, the NYT never criticizes Carlos Slim, his largest shareholder, once arguably the world's richest thug-"philanthropist" (even taking Putin into account...)

annenigma said...

I'd like to share a comment from Jim from Massachusetts who wrote in response to the NYT's article 'Weakened Democrats Bow to Voters, Opting for Total War on Trump'
As of this moment, his comment is #3 and he opposes total war on Trump. Sounds like there might be many other Democrats feeling the same way. He expresses my sentiments exactly.

Jim Massachusetts 2 hours ago

"I still think the winning strategy is for Democrats to take advantage of Trump's ideological incoherence, and not to block everything he says just because he is Trump.

He ran on a big infrastructure spending project? Great, work with him on that, give him the votes, and let the spending-adverse Republicans shoot it down if they dare.

He wants a child care tax benefit for working people? Great, give him the votes. Any hint of shoring up Obamacare and calling it Trumpcare? Whatever, as long as people are covered.

The Democrats have to remain the party of principle, not become the party of no. They have to demonstrate they are the party of working people. That means healthcare, safety-net spending, money for college, and so on. If Trump, in his mixed-up way, is for these things, great, support him on them.

This isn't compromise. Protest, oppose every hateful, xenophobic, reckless, asinine initiative from the White House.

But the ones that support working people? Take them. It's time to expose how incoherent the Republican party has become with Trump as its leader. Take the parts of Trump's agenda that help working people of all colors, and let the Republicans in Congress block them."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/us/democrats-dnc-chairman-trump-keith-ellison-tom-perez.html

annenigma said...

Off topic again. As much as we'd like to believe that Democrats actually fight for the working class, let's not forget that they failed to do so only a week or so ago.

Operating under the strong leadership, strict discipline, and powerful influence of Shady Chuck Schumer, 13 Senate Democrats voted to kill Bernie Sanders' drug import bill. Under the pretext of protecting our safety, those 13 traitors to the working class instead voted to protect the profits of their Big Pharm corporate donors. 12 Republicans actually voted for Bernie's bill and even Trump publicly blasted Big Pharma as "getting away with murder" on pricing, so it was a shoo-in to become law. Democrats are worse than useless, they're corrupt. I'd even call them the enemy of the people but the corporate media already has that title.

Speaking of misleadership under Shady Schumer, it seems likely that the DNC fix has been in all along for corporate tool Tom Perez as DNC chair, but to fool us all into believing that the DNC has suddenly turned fair, Shady Schumer endorsed Keith Ellison as a smokescreen. We'll soon know.