How The Daily Show did the Washington shoot

When watching The Daily Show, one often wonders why some people allow themselves to be made to look silly on the show. Sometimes they end up looking like such fools that one wonders whether they are actually actors following a script. Recently, they did a show about the fans of the Washington football team and their ridiculous devotion to the racist team name.
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Apple mania

You have to hand it to Apple. When it comes to marketing their products, they are the masters. Even when they produce something that is just marginally better than their previous products and may even be copying what others have already done, they manage to create a media buzz that results in people waiting in line for days to get the new product or paying others to do so, as if there is some special cachet to owning something just a few days before others do.
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A puzzling bit of human psychology

Actress Emma Watson gave a speech on being a feminist and appealed to men to join the HeForShe movement that seeks to create a broad coalition in support of gender equality. It was a good speech, not at all incendiary or even controversial, but as is so often the case these days, all it takes is for a prominent woman to speak out publicly on an issue that advances social justice to result in all kinds of weird people to come out of the woodwork with angry responses and threatening revenge. And the latest vehicle for revenge is to threaten to release nude photographs and they promised to do so with Watson too.
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Woman has plastic surgery to add a third breast?

There are some news items that I read and think, “This has to be a hoax”. To check, I look to see if the source is an established news outlet and that it is original reporting by their reporters and not something they have taken off some other source because these days there are many websites that pretend to be news sources but whose purpose seems to be to fool regular news operations by writing stories that on the surface look genuine.
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Taking down mainstream media hypocrisy

Howard Kurtz of Fox News tried to act superior with Harvey Levin, the founder of TMZ, the popular media outlet that obtains and releases videos such as the one of footballer Ray Rice punching a woman in an elevator. Kurtz tried to imply that TMZ was practicing a low form of journalism by paying money for videos. Levin was having none of it and put Kurtz in his place and stopped him from trying to weasel out of his statements. It was fun to watch.
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Chuck Todd off to a great start

David Letterman poked fun at the new host of Meet the Press, one of the wasteland of Sunday morning talk shows where many words are spoken and few are worth listening to. The reason may be that, as demonstrated by Todd, there is very little listening that takes place on these programs and that people come with an agenda that they are determined to push through.
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How the government creates compliant journalists

Dan Froomkin said in an ealier post that “the elite press gets tighter and tighter with those to whom it should be adversarial”. This failing seems to be most pronounced within the community of ‘national security’ reporters who seem to be particularly prone to try and be friends with the people they cover and act as mouthpieces for them. One of the most notorious is Dina Temple-Raston of NPR whose failings I have chronicled many times. In his book Goliath, Max Blumenthal gives case after case of how Israeli reporters report as facts what the Israeli national security establishment tells them and essentially become part of the propaganda system.
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Froomkin blogs again

Dan Froomkin was one of the best reporter/bloggers in the mainstream press before he was fired by the Washington Post in June 2009 for being too hard on the occupant of the White House, first George W. Bush and then later on Barack Obama, threatening the relationship the newspaper carefully cultivates with power, where you are allowed to criticize but only within certain limits.
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Net neutrality under threat

The telecommunication companies are pushing hard against net neutrality so that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can charge different rates to companies for use of their networks. This would result in large companies that are willing to pay being able to provide faster response times than smaller, poorer companies, eventually squeezing the latter out of business. President Obama appointed the head of the lobbying body of the cable companies to head the FCC, which strongly hinted that the fix was in.
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Satire and fake news stories

I enjoy satirical websites like the The Onion that take current political events and trends and then twist them around and manufacture a ‘story’ to illustrate some point about it or to highlight some absurdity. It is not uncommon for people who are not aware that these are satirical sites to take them at face value, even though it should be fairly clear that they are meant as humor.
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