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Monday, October 17, 2011

Handmaidens of the 1%

We complain all the time about how big money dominates politics in this country, but nobody ever points a finger at the mainstream media, who make matters worse by playing right along. Here's a dismissive paragraph posted today on the WW site that speaks volumes:

The PBA didn't send questionnaires to a number of no-money candidates who have also filed to run, including Novick's two challengers, Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association President Mark White and Office of Neighborhood Involvement program coordinator Jeri Williams.

What an awful way to marginalize people -- to call them "no-money candidates." As long as the organized press has such an easy way to wave off lesser known contenders for political office, there isn't much hope that the current state of affairs is going to change for the better.

Comments (18)

Hah! "no money" just got handed a bunch of votes!

...And the general populace of 99% should expect anything else after the "Supremes" ruling on the Citizens United case?
Corporations then, Corporations now, Corporations forever!

It is the way of the world Wilbur.

Well then Jack, how about giving publicly funded elections a chance? Correcting the mistakes of the past by tossing out the whole idea is a classic example of throwing out the baby with the bath.

I'd vote for Bozo the Clown before I"d vote for Novak..
Especially after his stunt this weekend with the protest.

From what I have heard, Steve Novick hasn't even filed to run yet. Therefore, there are no candidates running for that position, if you exclude the no-money candidates. Why should a person who hasn't even filed be sent a questionaire?

Well then Jack, how about giving publicly funded elections a chance?

For one thing, they've been declared unconstitutional, at least the way Portland's was set up. And Portland can't afford it, which was why I opposed them all along. "But we waste so much on other garbage" doesn't cut it for me as a rationale.

The media could make a big difference in leveling the playing field. So could outfits like the Portland Business Alliance. Instead, they are making matters worse.

Independent thought and analysis from the 99% wouldn't hurt. Not to underestimate the influence of the media beast but if voters would just spend the same amount of time they spend watching Dancing With The Stars to contemplate who really serves their interests we would have a lot fewer Republicans gumming up the works in DC.

Personally, I think we'd have a lot fewer Democrats screwing things up if the 99% paid more attention. But either way, it ain't gonna happen. No individual's vote is likely make much difference in the final result of any election, so they don't have much incentive to pay a lot of attention. Whether you come to your voting decision on a whim or after weeks or months of careful study and weighs the same.

Everyone bitches about the costs of campaigns but no one wants to make any change to improve the system except to spend public money.

Portland needs to get rid of the city wide district mentality and us a designated district scheme. That would make it possible for candidates to walk the districts and help keep the costs of campaign down.

When reform of campaign finance puts half of its regulations on the Spending part of 'finance,' (whereas, until now all regulation has been on the Contributions part of 'finance' -- who is allowed to contribute how much how often for what graft and corruption, etc.), we can regulate the Spending of campaign funds. This way:
Ban paid political ads in broadcast media.

Restrict campaign ads to Print media. Political positions and policies should be put in writing, because, after all, the job description is 'writing laws.' Can the candidate read and write? is the most important office-seeking quality for candidates to demonstrate and voters to examine.

Besides, prohibiting campaign spending for broadcast time would reduce campaign costs probably ninety percent, billions of dollars anyhow, (collectively). It almost wouldn't matter where the money was gotten when it can't be spent! And TV political hypesters and horserace handicappers can do without their cyclic windfall billion$ for inflaming negativity (ads) and pre-selecting 'winners' -- go pound sand, you media despots holding American politics hostage, bound and gagged.

Media is not merely 'handmaidens' of the immorally filthy rich 1% -- they ARE the immorally rich. That blow-dried hollow-headed 'news' reader we see on TV -- pick a channel, any channel -- is paid more than $1ooo per 'show' per day, 250 'working' days a year; the 'weatherman' too, the 'sports talker' too. LarsLarson gets a million a year (but he does 3 hours locally daily, so the 'extra' time justifies the excess filthy rich). Rash Lamebrain gets 5 million a year. And those are RADIO prices. TV is at least quadruple that.

Hey, you activists and protesters, who Occupy the World: March around a bit and Occupy Broadcast Stations.

I heard a powerfully concise description of the protesters' point of attack: OccupyWallStreet protest is NOT a left-or-right, Democrat-or-Republican thing; it is a LEGAL thing -- 1% criminals not prosecuted breaking laws 99% of us obey.

And this:
Glenn Greenwald,

One of the most revealing aspects of the rapidly growing OccupyWallStreet protest movement has been the bewilderment and befuddlement expressed by so many media stars as to what the “message” is of these ....
[ed. comment: I do believe the 'message' is: KILL the TV.]
... one point that I think becomes clear is that growing wealth and income inequality, by itself, would not spark massive protests if there were a perception that the top 1% (more accurately thought of as the top .1%) had acquired their gains honestly and legitimately. Americans in particular have been inculcated for decades with the belief that even substantial outcome inequality is acceptable (even desirable) provided that it is the by-product of fairly applied rules. What makes this inequality so infuriating (aside from the human suffering it is generating) is precisely that it is illegitimate: it is caused and bolstered by decisively unfair application of laws and rules, by undemocratic control of the political process by the nation’s oligarchs, and by a full-scale shield of immunity that allows them — and only them — to engage in the most egregious corruption and even criminality without any consequence.
Media too, same same, whole hog. The nazi propaganda media persons were tried at Nuremberg and (some) executed right beside the hideous political 'leaders' and criminal 'troops' simple-mindedly and immorally 'following orders.' Justice comes, sentencing happens.

What Tenskw said!

"...but nobody ever points a finger at the mainstream media..."

Right leaning folks have been pointing fingers at the mainstream media for their left wing bias for years. Why do you think the mainstream media is in the tank? Conservative readers have cancelled their subscriptions in droves because most news stories are no more than an opinion pieces shilling for the reports favorite left wing cause.

I didn't say no one ever blames the MSM for anything. I said no one blames the MSM for complicity with big money in politics.

Your comment is a perfect illustration that you can't say anything on the internet without someone arguing with you. "The sun came up this morning." No, not really. It neither "came," nor "up."

And where does all this money get spent?


So why the Hell would they want no-money candidates?

The solution is to take back the public information space and allow for free campaign ads on all media that are regulated by FCC rules. If you want a broadcast license then you have to provide free ads for candidates- period.

We have given over our media to private profit- there is no constitutional right to this scheme.

The other solution is to shorten the election cycle to a few months- period.

Living in England decades ago the attitude towards the press was refreshing. Little romance around the "4th estate", papers are known to be partisan, supporters of the system. Not only philosopy, direct supporters of the parties.

Consequently there's little huffing and puffing about the private press not being "objective" or "marginalizing" folks they don't agree with.

They've also got strict control on broadcast campaign ads. Until we do the same we'll continue wasting energy bemoaning a situation that will quite literally never change. OF COURSE privately funded media will have an agenda - the agenda of the funders. It cannot be any other way.

"I said no one blames the MSM for complicity with big money in politics."

Who do you think pays for the ads in MSM?

How about a rule (like it would ever happen), you can only spend as much as the 3rd place candidate on a campaign?

Perhaps this is country wide, but do know that locally for years this has gone on, marginalizing candidates that "insiders" do not want acknowledged. There have been candidate fairs that will only allow the top three they consider contenders at their event.
Things may change this time, and not because the populace will know in-depth information about candidates, but because people are saying that they will no longer vote for a familiar name.
Have any others who post on here heard that sentiment from people? If that attitude is far reaching, will money no longer play the enormous role it has to continue the same as usual?


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