Showing posts with label media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label media. Show all posts

Friday, 28 July 2017

The American Resistance has many faces and this journalist is one of them (12)

In June 2017 the U.S. White House banned cameras from its regular press briefings. The last live on-camera White House briefing was on 29 June and live audio-only ceased at some point after that.

At first news agencies were reduced to the absurd – painting short word pictures or using sketch artists to depict action.

In July ABC (USA) began showing "The Briefing Room" with its in-house political team analysing the now 'invisible' press briefings.

Then the dam wall was breached......

The Washington Post, 19 July 2017:

It was only a matter of time.

At every White House news briefing since June 29 — and many before, too — President Trump's spokesmen have ordered a room full of smartphone-toting journalists not to film the session or even broadcast live audio. On Wednesday, one reporter defied the White House by streaming live sound of the briefing online.

Ksenija Pavlovic, a former political science teaching fellow at Yale who founded a news site called Pavlovic Today, used the Periscope app to stream audio of Wednesday's briefing. She tweeted a link to the feed:
PBS News Hour followed suit as did ABC News (USA) with delayed audio posted on YouTube.

It is noted that two days later the White House announced an on-camera press briefing with Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

Well done Ksenija!

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Mr. Turnbull, about those millions.....

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull, Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield and Minister for Sport Greg Hunt owe an explanation to every Australian who has taken an income support cut or an earned income cut during the last three years because of Coalition Government policies and decisions.

Show us the contract signed by Foxtel Sports Australia or News Corp!

ABC Radio Melbourne, “Mornings” program, 17 July 2017:

The federal communications department has refused to release details about $30 million in sports broadcasting funding given to Foxtel, because it says documents about the deal "do not exist".

Senior Producer for ABC Radio Melbourne Mornings, Dan Ziffer spoke to Jon Faine about the money, which was allocated to Foxtel in the 2016 federal budget to support "underrepresented sports."

"There appears to be no paper trail for the $30 million contract," Mr Ziffer said.

"Whatever was done about this deal, it certainly wasn't written down."

Director of the Australian Shareholders Association Stephen Mayne said he believed the government gave Foxtel the money to avoid making an enemy with the Murdoch media.

"Because the free to air networks were all getting a licence fee cut in the budget and the government wants to keep sweet with all of the media," he said.

"They didn't want to have an enemy in the Murdoch's so they just gave them $30 million and then had to come up with a reason."

Communications minister Mitch Fifield has come under renewed pressure to explain why Foxtel – and not a free-to-air network or public broadcaster – was given millions of dollars to boost coverage of women's and niche sports. 

The broadcaster was assigned $30 million in taxpayer's money over four years in the 2017 federal budget in order to boost "under represented sports" on subscription television….

Labor is opposed to the Turnbull government's media reforms and the package has yet to pass the Senate. Foxtel's funding was able to sail through the upper house because it was bundled into the government's appropriation bills. 


Financial Review, 4 June 2017:
A spate of recent deals show the influence broadcaster Fox Sports has on the Australian sporting scene and how it may wield that power in the future….
Government subsidies to Fox increase
Fox will also play a part in any FFA expansion plans for the A-League, with a small kicker in the rights contract for additional matches as a result of more teams at any stage of the six-year contract. It will have a say in where the new teams come from.
Then there is the budget 2017 deal with the federal government. The government will provide subscription television worth $30 million over four years to "maintain and increase coverage of women's sports, niche sports and high-participation sports which have struggled to get air-time".
Yes, that means Fox Sports – which already has an iron grip on sport with rights to all NRL, AFL, Super Rugby and A-League matches and Supercars races – will receive government funding to show even more sport.
While the notion of giving money to ensure exposure for so-called lesser sports is a positive one, it is going to a commercial organisation rather than a government funded entity such as the ABC or SBS.
ABC News, 28 December 2016:
Following a day when there was more coverage of a stomach ache suffered by one male commentator of one male sport than there was for the entire gamut of women's sports being played at the moment, a very serious question remains unanswered.
Why, on the eve of 2017, is the media still failing to report women's sport adequately while Mark Nicholas' abdominal distress is national news?
Having covered sport for more than 20 years with NewsCorp Julie Tullberg now teaches digital journalism at Monash University.
"Yeah it's pretty funny, I covered AFL many years ago for the Australian and I've been unwell but when I left the coverage no-one could be bothered writing about what I went through — if I was pregnant, or whatever — but with men, for someone live on air for a big event like a Test match, that's newsworthy because they have such a large audience," Tullberg told ABC NewsRadio.
Turn on the radio, television, or go online during the 'summer of sport' and there are updates galore on cricket, basketball and football (the round-ball variety).
But you would be excused for thinking only men play these games despite the fact there are concurrent women's domestic competitions being played at the moment.
In a country where there are four times as many journalists accredited to cover the AFL than federal politics you would be right to suggest sport is a key component of the national culture.
The past 18 months or so in Australia have been record breaking for women's sport ... new competitions, new pay deals and a new level of respect from sports bodies themselves.
Unfortunately, though, that doesn't seem to extend to day-to-day mainstream media coverage.
The Australian, 19 February 2016:
Subscription television group ­Foxtel has reported a 5.5 per cent jump in first-half revenue to $1.66 billion, driven by strong subscriber growth.
However, higher programming costs saw earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation slip by 7.7 per cent to $434 million.
Foxtel, which is owned by Telstra and News Corp, the publisher of The Australian, saw total subscriber growth of 8.1 per cent for the six months ended December 31 and broadcast subscriber growth of 7.4 per cent….
Fox Sports Australia, which is carried by Foxtel and owned by News Corp,....

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Trumponomics and media in the United States of Dystopia

"President Trump spoke with @TheEconomist about Trumponomics and every answer is bananas
[Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan Justin Wolfers on Twitter, 11 May 2017]

Who thought that Anthony John Abbott when he was Australian prime minister was the most ill-intentioned, ignorant  and embarrassing leader of a nation to have ever existed to date in the developed world during the 21st century?

Well he now pales in comparison with Donald John Trump (pictured above).

Excerpts from the transcript of The Economist interview with the U.S. President on 4 May 2017:

Another part of your overall plan, the tax reform plan. Is it OK if that tax plan increases the deficit? Ronald Reagan’s tax reform didn’t.
[President Trump] Well, it actually did. But, but it’s called priming the pump. You know, if you don’t do that, you’re never going to bring your taxes down. Now, if we get the health-care [bill through Congress], this is why, you know a lot of people said, “Why isn’t he going with taxes first, that’s his wheelhouse?” Well, hey look, I convinced many people over the last two weeks, believe me, many Congressmen, to go with it. And they’re great people, but one of the great things about getting health care is that we will be saving, I mean anywhere from $400bn to $900bn.

That all goes into tax reduction. Tremendous savings.

But beyond that it’s OK if the tax plan increases the deficit?
It is OK, because it won’t increase it for long. You may have two years where you’ll… you understand the expression “prime the pump”?

We have to prime the pump.

It’s very Keynesian.
We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world. Have you heard that expression before, for this particular type of an event?

Priming the pump?
Yeah, have you heard it?

Have you heard that expression used before? Because I haven’t heard it. I mean, I just… I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good. It’s what you have to do.

Yeah, what you have to do is you have to put something in before you can get something out.

So you would have a bigger deficit, a stimulus, to prime the pump that would lead to faster growth?
So I happen to think that 3% is low. But you can’t do it if your companies are leaving the country because taxes are too high. Now, I’m going to do something there too. If our companies leave the country, number one they’re leaving for numerous reasons but one of the big reasons is the taxes are so high. When they leave—go back to trade for a second, when they leave the country, go to a certain country wherever it may be, and they fire all their workers in the United States and on the assumption they build cars or air conditioners or whatever they’re building, and they open a plant someplace else and then they send the air conditioner or the car into our country with no tax, that’s not going to happen anymore. They’re going to have a very large tax to pay, in the vicinity of 35%.
Now when you do that, number one they're not leaving the country anyway. So we’re not leaving. I don’t know if you saw what’s happening. Ford has announced massive expansions in the United States. General Motors cancelled a big plant in Mexico and a big plant in Europe. They’re all cancelling plans because I told them, I said… I get along with them great. But I said, “Look, we don’t mind if you leave the country. You can build all you want out of country, I hope you enjoy your plant. But when you build your car, you’re going to have a 35% tax when you bring it back in. And if your numbers work, we wish you well. But that’s what you’re going to have. You’re going to have a 35% tax.”
So I mean, I have, it has, I haven’t been given massive credit for it yet, but I have been given some because I just see polls out in Michigan and different places, that really are affected by this, have been unbelievable, you know, much bigger than election day. But that’s not a tax increase, that’s no tax. In other words, all you have to do is don’t leave and you won’t have a… but we’re bringing our taxes down so low that you won’t even need the barrier because the taxes are so low, that people are going to stay.
The other thing, just in case we… I believe it could be anywhere from $4trn to $5trn outside, you know don’t forget we’ve been talking about $2.5trn for four years now. I’ve been using $2.5trn, the same number we’ve all been using for years. Well, you know, it grows. I think it… I wouldn’t be surprised if it was $5trn but, you know, we’re close. We’re letting that money come back in. And that has two barriers which you have to watch. It’s got a barrier of the tax, which we will take care of. We’re going to make it 10%. Now it’s 35%...

Sorry, 10%? The repatriation taxes?
The repatriation. Inversion. The corporate inversions, which is a disaster, with the companies leaving. But they want to bring back their money. Number one, the tax is too high but the other thing that’s too high is the bureaucracy.

I have a friend who said even if you wanted to bring it back in you can’t because you have to go through so many papers, so many documents, so many…

You have to do… Steve, they told me you’ve got to sign books and books of stuff, you pay millions of dollars in legal fees and they almost don’t allow you to bring it back in.

Can I ask you a question about the politics of tax?
It should be like one page.

Excerpts from the transcript of a Time interview with President Trump, published 11 May 2017:
For instance I don’t watch CNN. I don’t watch MSNBC. Scarborough used to treat me great. But because I don’t do interviews and stuff and want to … He went the other way. Which is fine. He’s got some problems. But I don’t watch the show anymore. It drives him crazy. I don’t watch the show.
I do watch Fox in the morning, and their ratings have gone through the roof because everyone knows I’m watching Fox. But they’re pleasant. And if I do something wrong they report on it. I don’t mean they – if I do something wrong. But it’s really, honestly it’s the most accurate.
CNN in the morning, Chris Cuomo, he’s sitting there like a chained lunatic. He’s like a boiler ready to explode, the level of hatred. And the entire, you know the entire CNN platform is that way. This Don Lemon who’s perhaps the dumbest person in broadcasting, Don Lemon at night it’s like – sometimes they’ll have a guest who by mistake will say something good. And they’ll start screaming, we’re going to commercial. They cut him off. Remember?
I’ve seen things where by mistake somebody they bring in a guest and it turns out to be a positive. And they go, I mean they get just killed. The level of hatred. And poor Jeffrey Lord. I love Jeffrey Lord. But sometimes he’s sitting there with eight unknown killers that nobody ever heard of. And CNN actually is not doing nearly as well as others. They’re all doing well because of me. But it’s not doing as well as others that are doing better actually. But Fox treats me very fairly. MSNBC is ridiculous. It’s just bad.
It’s an ability I never thought I’d have. I never thought I’d have the ability to say, they’re doing a big story on me on CNN and I won’t watch it. And it’s amazing, it doesn’t matter. But it really, the equilibrium is much better. As far as newspapers and things, I glance at them. They’re really dishonest. I mean they’re really dishonest……
You see a no-talent guy like Colbert. There’s nothing funny about what he says. And what he says is filthy. And you have kids watching. And it only builds up my base. It only helps me, people like him. The guy was dying. By the way they were going to take him off television, then he started attacking me and he started doing better. But his show was dying. I’ve done his show. … But when I did his show, which by the way was very highly rated. It was high highest rating. The highest rating he’s ever had.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

KARMA AMERICAN-STYLE: Trump reduced to early campaigning on YouTube for 2020 presidential election campaign after veto by national mainstream media

Campaign advertisement of 1 May 2017 by Donald J. Trump For President, Inc.
C/O Trump Tower, 725 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10022

Huffington Post, 7 May 2017:

Major networks including CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC are refusing to air a Donald Trump 2020 campaign ad that attacks mainstream media.

The 30-second spot focuses on the president’s first 100 days in office, touting his confirmation of Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch as well as pushing forth of the Keystone Pipeline construction and slashing regulations. “You wouldn’t know it from watching the news,” a voiceover says.

It also notably features the words “fake news,” a phrase Trump often uses to undermine reporting with which he disagrees, over the faces of well-known journalists such as Rachel Maddow of MSNBC and George Stephanopoulos of ABC. CNN was the first network to nix the ad, according to The Wrap.

Now, the Trump campaign is responding. On Friday, presidential campaign consultant and — quelle surprise — the commander in chief’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump called it an “unprecedented act of censorship in America that should concern every freedom-loving citizen” in a post written on
“Apparently, the mainstream media are champions of the First Amendment only when it serves their own political views,” she said in a statement.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Trump supporter's call to "kill the globalists" at CNN

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Australian Press Council names Herald Sun for sloppy and misleading journalism

The Australian Press Council named News Corp’s Herald Sun for sloppy and misleading journalism and the editor inserted this in the newspaper on 28 April 2017:
Press Council Adjudication
Herald Sun
April 28, 2017 12:00am
The Press Council considered whether its Standards of Practice were breached by an article published online in the Herald Sun on 13 January 2017, headed “Thousands of public servants got a free week off at Christmas, and critics want to know why”. The headline was repeated in a caption accompanying a stock photograph of clinking wine glasses, with “free paid-up week off” substituting “free week”.
The article began: “EXCLUSIVE: TENS of thousands of public servants were gifted a bonus week’s paid holiday between Christmas and New Year’s Day”. The second paragraph stated that “News Corp Australia can reveal workers at the Australian Taxation Office [ATO], Department of Social Services, Safe Work Australia and Treasury were among the government divisions simply given three days’ leave on full pay from Wednesday December 28 to Friday December 30, following the Christmas and Boxing Day public holidays”.
The article then featured another photograph, of an office building, captioned: “Free week off at the Australian Taxation Office in Canberra City”. The concluding paragraph of the article included a comment from a spokesperson for the Community and Public Sector Union, that “the extra days of leave were a ‘trade-off for something else’ such as a lower overall pay rise”.
The Council asked the publication to comment on whether it took reasonable steps to ensure that its description of the leave to workers at the identified public service divisions was accurate and not misleading (General Principle 1) and was presented with reasonable fairness and balance (General Principles 3).
The publication said its information was obtained from government sources, including from the Department of Employment, and that it also specifically asked all of the government departments whether they were in effect giving “free” days off. It said it received several responses explaining there were trade-offs in the conditions that allowed this, but that others such as the ATO, Treasury and the Department of Employment made no express mention of trade-offs for the leave. In particular, the publication said the ATO’s statement to its reporter contained no suggestion that the days off were part of its enterprise bargaining agreement.
As the comment provided by the ATO offered no justification for the additional days, it was not included in the article.
The publication said there is a public interest in the discussion of public servants being granted such leave, which is unavailable to other workers, given private sector trends towards obliging many workers to use annual leave over the Christmas period.
The publication added that it received no request to remedy the article from any of the government divisions, but would have considered any request.
The Council considers that in the overall context of the article, the statement that “News Corp Australia can reveal workers at the Australian Taxation Office, Department of Social Services, Safe Work Australia and Treasury were among the governments divisions simply given three days’ leave”, is presented as a verified fact. The Council considers that the article did not contain any evidence substantiating or supporting this statement.
First, the Council accepts the publication obtained its information from government sources, including the Department of Employment. Second, the Council accepts the publication asked the ATO and Treasury whether they were in effect giving “free” days off, and that in their response, they made no explicit mention of trade-offs for the leave. Third, the Council also accepts the publication asked the Department of Social Services and Safe Work Australia whether they were in effect given “free” days off. On the information available to the Council, it is unable to conclude whether the publication received any response from these divisions or if any such response confirmed there were no trade-offs for the leave. In the circumstances, the Council considers that the publication needed to make further enquiries to verify this information.
The Council does not consider that the lack of an express denial or the absence of any response amounted to sufficient verification to present the statement as a verified fact. The Council considers that the publication did not take reasonable steps to ensure accuracy, fairness and balance, given the unqualified nature of the statement. In any event, the statements that the three days’ leave constituted a full “free week”, a “free paid- up week” or a “bonus week” were inaccurate and unfair. Accordingly, the Council concludes that the publication failed to take reasonable steps to ensure accuracy, fairness and balance, in breach of General Principles 1 and 3. In the circumstances, and in the absence of any complaint from the identified divisions, the Council does not consider the publication breached General Principle 2 or 4, in respect of corrections or rights of reply.

This adjudication applies the following General Principles of the Council.

Publications must take reasonable steps to:
1. Ensure that factual material in news reports and elsewhere is accurate and not misleading, and is distinguishable from other material such as opinion.
2. Provide a correction or other adequate remedial action if published material is significantly inaccurate or misleading.
3. Ensure that factual material is presented with reasonable fairness and balance, and that writers’ expressions of opinion are not based on significantly inaccurate factual material or omission of key facts.
4. Ensure that where material refers adversely to a person, a fair opportunity is given for subsequent publication of a reply if that is reasonably necessary to address a possible breach of General Principle 3.

This is the second time in seven weeks that the Herald Sun received a rap over the knuckles for the same type of behaviour:

The Press Council has considered a complaint from Industry Super Australia about an article in The Australian on 3 December 2015, headed “Industry Super must be taken to task”. The article said industry super funds’ “supply chains are tightly held by union-related entities — in relation to funds management, investment, financial advice and custodial services”, and that “[t]he market is never tested because doing business with union mates is so much easier, it would seem”.

The Council considered that although the article was headed “COMMENT” in print and “OPINION” online, the statement in the article that industry super funds’ “supply chains are tightly held by union-related entities — in relation to funds management, investment, financial advice and custodial services, was expressed as a statement of fact and not merely an expression of the author’s opinion. The Council considered it meant that union-related entities dominated each of the named supply areas. The Council was satisfied on the material available that the publication failed to take reasonable steps to ensure this statement was accurate and not misleading.

The Council considered the statement that “[t]he market is never tested because doing business with union mates is so much easier” was also presented as a statement of fact, notwithstanding the addition of the words “it would seem”. The Council considered that the publication did not take reasonable steps to ensure this statement was accurate and not misleading, having regard to its definite terms. Accordingly, the publication also breached General Principle 1 in this respect.

As the publication offered a balancing opinion piece in response, given the nature and context of the material, the Council considered that the publication took reasonable steps to provide adequate remedial action. Accordingly, it did not consider that General Principles 2 and 4 were breached. 


Friday, 7 April 2017

News Corp has egg on its face

So the newspaper has no excuse for such inaccurate reporting prominently displayed as an “Exclusive” on its 29 March 2017 front page.

The Guardian, 30 March 2017:

The Australian newspaper has claimed that the union leader Sally McManus faked her CV when she said she was president of a university union for two years.

The story, headlined “Mystery of union chief’s uni claim”, said the ACTU secretary was “not elected to the student union council in any elections in 1991, 1992, 1993 or 1994”.

But her Macquarie University deputy student leader at the time and McManus herself have demolished the story, saying it was lacking in research and was the result of a mix-up between the student union and the student council.

Mark Greenhill, now the mayor of Blue Mountains council, said McManus was president of the Macquarie University student union. “I should know, I was her vice-president,” Greenhill said.
“Anyone aware of politics on Australian campuses in the 1990s would be aware, there was a separation between representative service and political bodies.

“A separate body, the Macquarie University student council, was the political body.”

The Australian’s associate editor, Brad Norington, who has written a series of articles critical of McManus, implied in an “exclusive” story that McManus had faked her experience on her professional profile on LinkedIn.

“The claim by ACTU secretary Sally McManus that she headed the student union at Macquarie University for more than two years is in dispute, with no records showing she ever held the post,” he wrote on the front page of the Australian.

“On her LinkedIn ‘experience’ profile, Ms McManus says she was president of the student union at North Ryde, in Sydney’s northwest, from August 1991 to August 1993, for ‘2yrs 1 mo’.”

The story was promoted by the Australian’s associate editor, Caroline Overington, on Twitter before an address by McManus at the National Press Club…..

The Australian addressed the error by publishing a second story on Wednesday afternoon with the headline “Sally McManus clarifies Macquarie Uni student union past”. The original story is still online.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The Trump Regime crosses dangerous lines

CNN Politics, 23 February 2017:

Washington (CNN)The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN.

White House officials had sought the help of the bureau and other agencies investigating the Russia matter to say that the reports were wrong and that there had been no contacts, the officials said. The reports of the contacts were first published by The New York Times and CNN on February 14.

The direct communications between the White House and the FBI were unusual because of decade-old restrictions on such contacts. Such a request from the White House is a violation of procedures that limit communications with the FBI on pending investigations.

The discussions between the White House and the bureau began with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus on the sidelines of a separate White House meeting the day after the stories were published, according to a U.S. law enforcement official.

The White House initially disputed that account, saying that McCabe called Priebus early that morning and said The New York Times story vastly overstates what the FBI knows about the contacts.
But a White House official later corrected their version of events to confirm what the law enforcement official described.

The same White House official said that Priebus later reached out again to McCabe and to FBI Director James Comey asking for the FBI to at least talk to reporters on background to dispute the stories. A law enforcement official says McCabe didn't discuss aspects of the case but wouldn't say exactly what McCabe told Priebus.

Comey rejected the request for the FBI to comment on the stories, according to sources, because the alleged communications between Trump associates and Russians known to US intelligence are the subject of an ongoing investigation. [my highlighting]

The Washington Post, 24 February 2016:

The Trump administration has enlisted senior members of the intelligence community and Congress in efforts to counter news stories about Trump associates’ ties to Russia, a politically charged issue that has been under investigation by the FBI as well as lawmakers now defending the White House.

Acting at the behest of the White House, the officials made calls to news organizations last week in attempts to challenge stories about alleged contacts between members of President Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, U.S. officials said.

The calls were orchestrated by the White House after unsuccessful attempts by the administration to get senior FBI officials to speak with news organizations and dispute the accuracy of stories on the alleged contacts with Russia.

The White House on Friday acknowledged those interactions with the FBI but did not disclose that it then turned to other officials who agreed to do what the FBI would not — participate in White House-arranged calls with news organizations, including The Washington Post.

Two of those officials spoke on the condition of anonymity — a practice President Trump has condemned.

The officials broadly dismissed Trump associates’ contacts with Russia as infrequent and inconsequential. But the officials would not answer substantive questions about the issue, and their comments were not published by The Post and do not appear to have been reported elsewhere.

Read the full article here.

Vox, 24 February 2017:

President Donald Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, kept major media outlets, including the New York Times and CNN, out of the daily press briefing Friday, canceling it in favor of an off-camera media gaggle for handpicked media outlets and escalating the Trump administration’s fight with the press.

The White House picked which journalists could participate in the press briefing Friday. Reporters for CNN, the New York Times, Politico, BuzzFeed, and the majority of the foreign press were not among them.

The press pool, including NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox News, were allowed in, as well as several smaller conservative media outlets, including the Washington Times, the One America News Network, and Breitbart, which was formerly run by White House senior strategist Steve Bannon. Time and the Associated Press boycotted the gaggle, according to reporting from CNN.

The White House Correspondents’ Association board responded to the incident, noting that they were “strongly against” how the White House conducted the media gaggle and that they would discuss the matter further with the president’s press team.

While Trump’s presidential campaign was known for banning media outlets from rallies and campaign events, this is one of the first times the media has been explicitly barred from a White House press event during Trump’s presidency.

Friday, 3 February 2017

"A lie, is a lie, is a lie!"

America’s dilemma writ large on Facebook, 22 January 2017 :
Dan Rather 14 hrs

These are not normal times. These are extraordinary times. And extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.
When you have a spokesperson for the president of the United States wrap up a lie in the Orwellian phrase "alternative facts”…
When you have a press secretary in his first appearance before the White House reporters threaten, bully, lie, and then walk out of the briefing room without the cajones to answer a single question…
When you have a President stand before the stars of the fallen CIA agents and boast about the size of his crowds (lies) and how great his authoritarian inaugural speech was….
These are not normal times.
The press has never seen anything like this before. The public has never seen anything like this before. And the political leaders of both parties have never seen anything like this before.
What can we do? We can all step up and say simply and without equivocation. "A lie, is a lie, is a lie!" And if someone won't say it, those of us who know that there is such a thing as the truth must do whatever is in our power to diminish the liar's malignant reach into our society.
There is one group of people who can do a lot - very quickly. And that is Republicans in Congress. Without their support, Donald Trump's presidency will falter. So here is what I think everyone in the press must do. If you are interviewing a Paul Ryan, a Mitch McConnell, or any other GOP elected official, the first question must be "what will you do to combat the lying from the White House?" If they dodge and weave, keep with the follow ups. And if they refuse to give a satisfactory answer, end the interview.
Facts and the truth are not partisan. They are the bedrock of our democracy. And you are either with them, with us, with our Constitution, our history, and the future of our nation, or you are against it. Everyone must answer that question.

Definitions of some of the terms used in the media to describe Donald J. Trump and/or his words and actions 

lie - a false statement made with intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood; something intended or serving to convey a false impression

dishonest - not honest; disposed to lie cheat or steal; proceeding from or exhibiting a lack of honesty; fraudulent

fraudulent - given to or using fraud, as a person; cheating; dishonest

misleading - to lead or guide wrongly; lead astray; to lead into error of conduct, thought, or judgement

[Paul Hamlyn Publishing Group, 1971, Encyclopedic World Dictionary, editors Hanks, P & Potter S]

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Micro moth with unusual characteristics named after Donald Trump

One might call the genitals of this moth oddly shaped rather than proportionately small, but such is the level of antipathy that Donald Trump managed to generate over the last eighteen months that sections of the media rarely let an opportunity to insult pass it by........

Neopalpa donaldtrumpi

Neopalpa donaldtrumpi genitalia
IFLscience!, 18 January 2017:

......."the Donald" has received the honor of having a new species of moth officially named after him: Neopalpa donaldtrumpi.

Totally unrelated to the moths’ namesake, the new species has a strange blonde thing on its head and small genitals.

The golden-haired species has been described this week in the online journal ZooKeys. With a wingspan of just 7-12 millimeters, these moths can be found around the future location of the Great-Wall-Of-Trump, Arizona, California, and Mexico’s Baja California.

Evolutionary biologist Dr Vazrick Nazari discovered the new species and named it in honor of the soon-to-be president. After sifting through a collection of moths from the genus Neopalpa, he noticed that a few specimens didn't match the criteria for previously known species. For one, the study notes it has “genitalia comparatively smaller” than its closest relative N. neonata. Using DNA barcoding analysis and catalogs from various natural history institutions, Nazari showed that it was indeed a separate unrecognized species….

Dr Nazari said he named the moth as such because of its uncanny resemblance to Trump’s iconic hairdo. However, he also stressed that he hopes the name will generate interest in the species and promote conservation efforts for North America’s neglected micro-fauna.

"The discovery of this distinct micro-moth in the densely populated and otherwise zoologically well-studied southern California underscores the importance of conservation of the fragile habitats that still contain undescribed and threatened species, and highlights the paucity of interest in species-level taxonomy of smaller faunal elements in North America," Nazari said in a statement.

Who knows, as expressed by a tweet from the discoverer Nazari (below), perhaps this species’ name could even grab the attention of the tycoon-turned-president himself.

Vazrick Nazari @vazrick