Sunday, October 27, 2013

Spin City (and I don't mean the TV show)



So, what are we talking about today?  Media and spin.  Do you believe that ALL news outlets spin the truth?  What I am talking about here is the news outlets all being in it together to spin the news so that our perception of the truth falls into line with what they want us to believe.  I think the exception is Internet news, which tends to be more factual in the reporting.  Additionally, news reported from other countries is often more truthful than what we read here.

Am I talking about the news outlets (or The Bix Six) spinning the political news so that the landscape of what is actually going on is different from the truth?  Yet bet.  Can you think of specific cases where The Bix Six is reporting something and you are finding a different story elsewhere?  If so, share it.

Can you think of a case where the media reported something patently untrue in order to help a major corporation or lobbyist group continue to keep on doing business precisely as they were?  Think companies like Monsanto.

I just got some schooling yesterday on the coffee case Liebeck vs. McDonalds.  Did you know that the lady wasn't driving the car like all the news reports said?  Did you know she was sitting in the parking lot?  Did you know that McDonalds coffee was MUCH HOTTER than other drive-through coffees and had hundreds of reports of burns before this case went to trial?  Did you know that McDonalds drive-through coffee (before they lowered the temp) would cause a 3rd degree burn after 15 seconds of contact with the skin?  Did you know it was set 30 degrees higher than coffee fresh from your pot at home?  Did you know that Mrs. Liebeck didn't get over 2 million dollars like the networks reported?  She actually received just under $500,000.00  In other words, did you know that all of the media giants made a decision to cast Mrs. Liebeck as an opportunist and McDonalds (major corporation) as the victim?  Did you know you were played?

Are you aware that the media plays you every day?  They are taking the truth and bending it or outright lying.  The courts have ruled that it is OKAY FOR THE MEDIA TO LEGALLY LIE.  Did you know that?  Our court system has ruled in favor of the lying.  These liars are hiding behind the 1st Amendment.

Here is a bit of that article:  "The position implies that First Amendment rights belong to the employers – in this case the five power media groups. And when convenient, the First Amendment becomes a broad shield to hide behind. Let’s not forget, however; the airwaves belong to the people. Is there no public interest left-while these media giants make their private fortunes using the public airwaves? Can corporations have the power to influence the media reporting, even at the expense of the truth? Apparently so."

I am a huge proponent of the 1st Amendment and the individual's Freedom of Speech.  I am also a big proponent of Truth.  That means you have the right to know that these groups have been given a Free Pass to twist and distort the news so that it no longer resembles the truth, and the courts are fine with it.  With that in mind, I say that The Big Six is nothing more than a Grapevine for lobbyists, political powers, international bankers, and big money corporations.

"People say believe half of what you see,
son, and none of what you hear.
I can't help bein' confused
if it's true please tell me dear?"
~I Heard It Through The Grapevine

 So, what news stories are you aware of that have been spun so thoroughly that they no longer resemble the truth? 

 I would like this blog to become a dialogue about something that affects each and every one of us.  With that in mind, if you have something constructive to say in relation to the comment of another, post it.  Of course, comments will be moderated and if anyone steps over the bounds of stating their belief to attacking someone else for theirs... the comment will not be posted.

23 comments:

  1. Robin-

    Other facts in the Liebucks case that were not widely reported-the plaintiff asked the McDonald's employees to call an ambulance and were refused, and McDonalds had settled similar cases out of court for far less than the plaintiffs were asking.

    Do you know if the $500K was after the appeal? We'd used this case as a study in an ethics class and I thought I remembered the higher award but the appeal was pending. I'm too lazy to dig through my files to find my source articles.

    According to one article I read, the jury felt McDonalds acted inhumanely and needed to be thought a lesson. That sentiment never came out in the televised media, and probably not in the mainstream print media.

    Even if the media does not lie, what they do not report is often just as important as what they do report.

    And they definitely have a liberal agenda, coupled with an agenda to sell advertising, and units (whether those units be newspapers, magazines or attracting viewers to their broadcast).

    The media has always had incredible power. At least in my lifetime, they have not wielded that power responsibly.

    Larry

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    1. First of all, you probably know more about the particulars of the Liebeck vs McDonalds case if you studied it in class than I do. I just read up on it yesterday. I believe that the $500K was after the appeal. The jury actually awarded a number higher than the $2 million, but the judge made the decision to lower it. Yet, it was still appealed down to the sum mentioned above. I got that message too about the jurors wanting to send a message to McDonalds. There were two amounts awarded. I think that one covered pain & suffering & medical costs, etc. The other (much larger) amount was punitive damages to send McDonalds a message since there were SO MANY cases and they were clearly at fault.

      You are exactly right. What the media leaves out is as important as what they put in. It is soooo easy to spin a story to leave whatever impression or feeling that suits your goal. And that is often so far from the truth that it is frightening.

      "The media has always had incredible power. At least in my lifetime, they have not wielded that power responsibly." I couldn't agree more.

      Delete
  2. ‘I think the exception is Internet news, which tends to be more factual in the reporting. Additionally, news reported from other countries is often more truthful than what we read here.’

    I would be careful on both counts. While there are various news sources on the Internet and some are more accurate than others, don’t kid yourself into thinking that ‘the news’ is not being controlled there also.( Keep in mind who invented the Internet. Ha, ha, ha.) On more than one occasion I have read some very interesting article on the Internet only to have it disappear a short while later.

    As for news reported from other countries…my experience while living out of the US, was that the news is certainly different, but not necessarily more accurate nor does it contain less ‘spin’.

    Of course, all of this is nothing new. The news has always been about selling you a paper, magazine, radio or television program or just a plain old ‘bill of goods’. As the media sources have gotten bigger and more available, they have become a major source of conditioning the people to believe, accept, and act on certain ideas, conditions, and plans set forth by they/them/those who are directing this human experiment in global control.

    ‘I am a huge proponent of the 1st Amendment and the individual's Freedom of Speech. I am also a big proponent of Truth.’

    In the world today, it appears that ‘never the twain shall meet’.

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    1. I should have said that I believe the chances are better at getting truthful reporting from Internet sources. Does that mean EVERY internet source is reliable? Heck no. But, at least with the Internet you have a shot at researching something in order to dig for the truth. I find international news to be very enlightening, as a general rule. However, you are right that the spin machine is at work there.

      It is interesting that almost all of our "news" is now delivered in the form of Op-Ed pieces and most people don't find that suspicious. Those are opinions - not facts. But they are being digested as fact.

      Yeah, I fear you are right. The First Amendment was designed to protect Freedom of Speech, but wasn't meant to be wielded as a tool to deliberate deceive the public en masse about EVERYTHING. And I don't see Freedom of Speech and the Truth coming together anytime soon in the media. ::so sad::

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  3. Years ago, in another life, I was assigned to sit in courtrooms to observe segments of high profile criminal cases. I would often sit from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm, and I took my one hour lunch break right in the courtroom so I would not miss anything. Nearly every day, I would be shocked to watch the news at night and listen to reports of things that supposedly took place during the trials, and they were absolutely fabricated. Many times, they never even discussed in court what was reported.

    For example, in one case, a defense lawyer asked a witness if she could identify a serial killer and his son as having purchased some food in the diner where she worked. She replied that she had seen them. On the news that evening, the reporter said (as best I can recall), "Despite the fact that she had seen the fugitive murderers earlier that day, she failed to notify the police." The woman was ridiculed for months.

    This woman had served them hamburgers in a diner and neither recognized them nor knew they were fugitives until the police contacted her weeks after they were captured.

    This kind of thing happens every day. Journalism is dead. I applaud your focus on the truth.

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    1. It is simply hard to digest that we live in a society with so much technology and so much of it is being used for The Bad. In a time where information is at our fingertips, who would have thought it would be so difficult to get at the Truth? People are maligned in the press every day simply because the news portrays them falsely. And people believe it because THEIR TV NEWS SHOW WOULD NEVER LIE. But, they do. All of the time. Journalism is dead.

      Thank you for sharing some of what you have seen. People need to know that they are not getting the truth out of the media. And they haven't for a very long time.

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  4. I try very hard to teach my students (fifth graders) not to believe everything they read even when it appears they are reading "factual" information. I show them how opinions are slipped in between facts to color our perception of those facts, and how some facts aren't really factual at all. (ie: "Propane costs have risen 15% in the last year, while the cost of oil remains steady." No mention of what the costs actually are and whether an increase of 15% in the cost of propane is still less costly than oil.)

    The kids get it, but I don't know how long the lesson sticks. We are so inundated by false facts, it's easy to be fooled.

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    1. At least you are trying, Dianne. You never know what things will stick with a kid. I wouldn't be any means consider it a lost cause.

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  5. The most fearful thing about all the spin is that so many people don't know they're spinning it. And I hate how they make 'big' news out of something that isn't news worthy at all. It is impossible to judge truth from what is on TV and in newspapers.

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    1. The number of people who still believe EVERYTHING they hear on the news is mind-boggling. I think that people are holding them to a standard of truthfulness that simply isn't there.

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  6. Just look at the Trayvon Martin case, for example, and you'll see how the media twisted, strained, and contorted the facts in order to advance the narrative that the whole situation was racially motivated. I mean, they even went as far as designing new ways to label people (White-Hispanic) and doctoring 911 footage to keep to their agenda.

    Anyone who says there is no bias in the media is either a liar or extremely and woefully uninformed.

    I say it all the time....journalism, in this country, is dead.

    Great post, Robin.

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    1. I thought of the Trayvon Martin case when I was writing this post and wondered if anyone would bring it up in the comments. Yes, the media worked overtime to make this look like a racially induced attack. The truth was that George Zimmerman was hispanic with a black grandfather. He went out of his way to help all minorities in his town, including blacks. This was NOT a guy who hated black people. The media didn't just leave out these important facts (because it didn't suit their narrative), but did as you say spin the whole thing using labeling like White-Hispanic.

      And our POTUS stepped into this circus by saying that if he had a son he would be like Trayvon Martin. As a lawyer, he should have know that he was creating jury bias before a trial. Wait... I am quite certain he did know and that it was all part of the Spin Campaign.

      It's shameful.

      Delete
  7. Great blog bit, ROBIN!

    I'll admit I did not know the truth regarding the McDonald's Coffee Trial, but I certainly know how much the mainstream media spins stories (and I know you believe me on that latter point).

    >>... So, what news stories are you aware of that have been spun so thoroughly that they no longer resemble the truth?

    Oh, SHEESH! How much time do you have? Can you give me the rest of this life and 3.5 of your next lives to hear what I have found in 20 years of researching?!

    Let's just say this...

    Last week I was talking with a coworker who used to work for the CIA, and he and I both spoke about how often details in the FIRST reports you hear of a story later get changed or disappear altogether. Pay attention to that!

    The next time a huge, national story breaks on a really hot topic (like, say, a school shooting), try to memorize all the details you hear when you encounter the story for the first time. Then watch how many of those details get scrubbed later, when word filters up from "BELOW" which way the story needs to be spun, and which facts need to DISAPPEAR, like, NOW! It's an amazing thing to see how much a story gets changed as reporting continues, and it's not always because new, "more reliable" info has been learned. Often it's that very powerful people have said, "Stop reporting this or that fact".

    I could go on and on, yakking about how the Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 hijacking stories got changed and spun.

    One of the best examples is the ENTIRE STORY of Senator Joseph McCarthy's "witch hunts". McCarthy is my #1 political hero because he was the true "GOOD GUY" who endured more lies and bullshit and slander against his character in less than a decade than any one of us would have to endure in 4.5 lifetimes! When the media got done spinning the McCarthy / Communist Witch Hunt story, Joseph McCarthy was the most hated American of the 20th Century. But study the details, all the facts behind the myths, as I have done for many years, and you discover that McCarthy was the REAL American patriot, and his enemies, and the media were the "bad guys" - they were the communists, the communist sympathizers, the fellow travelers, and the communist protectors.

    [If anyone thinks I've overstated the case, PLEASE attempt to debate me in public and see what happens! There's truly NOTHING I enjoy MORE in life than publicly debating Anti-McCarthyites.]

    Robin, there's a good story by Anastasio Somoza in the book 'THE SHADOWS OF POWER: The Council On Foreign Relations And The American Decline' by James Perloff, in which he recounts how he was interviewed by Dan Rather for the TV program 'Sixty Minutes', and when the interview later aired, they had used editing techniques to spin the interview into something that was almost unrecognizable to Somoza. I would highly recommend that book to you for a number of reasons.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. First, that bit of advice about memorizing (or even recording) a big national news event is a great idea. That way you have the facts as they happen. It is impossible to remember every detail, but it is much easier if you have recorded it and can compare it to what is changed in later reports.

      I haven't done any research into Sen.Joseph McCarthy, so most of what I know is the Spin Story. However, as I see socialism and communism gaining ground NOW, it is pretty easy to believe that he was seeing the same thing back THEN. When the people actually see it, it means that there is a stronghold. That takes decades to happen. When someone like Harry Reid can say openly that he is a Socialist Democrat and still win his state something has gone very wrong. Knowing what I know about the media it isn't remotely difficult to see that they were puppets of a much more powerful group. If they wanted to destroy someone in the media, it was pretty darn easy to do it. Still is.

      Hearing stories like Somoza's makes you think you simply wouldn't want to be interviewed on television unless it was LIVE.

      Delete
  8. Yeah I'm also very careful about the news stories these days. Never know what can be believed.

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  9. Actually, I should mention here that in my country, there was a story about a racial attack on two mine-workers, a father and son by the employer and his son.

    The attack left the son epileptic, and he blacked out and fell into a fire, burning himself so badly that his hands were amputated.

    It became this huge political thing on the news with the leading political party giving the boy prosthetic limbs etc.

    The employer committed suicide.

    About two weeks later, it turned out that 1) the epileptic boy was always epileptic. 2) He wasn't even there. His brother got beaten up. 3) They got beaten up because they went out of their way to provoke the farmer and his son. It wasn't a beating. It was a fist fight.

    Something just felt incredibly unfair about it all.

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    1. Something just felt incredibly unfair about it all.

      Darn right. The journalists created a story where there wasn't one. Maligned the farmer and his son to the point that the guy committed suicide.

      I find it hard to believe that the media simply didn't know the Real Truth. It's more likely that they did, but the story just wasn't as good. Sounds like they got a LOT of mileage out of that story... even though it was completely false.

      Another case of Grapevine Reporting...

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  10. I learned this when I spoke to a couple soldiers coming back from the Middle East. We're not getting the truth, and we're only hearing a fraction of a fraction of what's really happening out there.

    The media is only after one thing: gaining an audience. It's not after the truth.

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    1. Great example. It's interesting what you believe when someone you KNOW confirms it. I think our biggest downfall will be the widespread belief that the government (and their media mouthpieces) wouldn't do anything to hurt us. Furthermore, they have our best interests at heart.

      ::beep:: Wrong.

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  11. Oh yes, I'm super aware of this. Exaggeration is their biggest flaw.

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  12. Reminds me of the Hunger Games.

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  13. ROBIN ~
    Here's a very relevant quote for you, in case you've not encountered it before:

    John Swinton On The Independence Of The Press...

    "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."
    ~ John Swinton
    New York journalist


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

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Wow. Powerful. No wonder it isn't widely quoted...

      Frankly, surprised he put it in print at all.

      Delete

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