The role of satire in politics

It is a source of increasing concern to the establishment media that younger people are tuning in to comedy shows like The Daily Show that skewer the supposedly serious news shows and not tuning in to them, causing the demographic of their viewers to steadily inch upwards and well into retirement ages. This has naturally discomfited the people who host those shows and caused some of them to argue that this satirical attitude is making younger people more cynical about the political system and the media.
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The US propaganda system on full display in Sony hack story

Glenn Greenwald looks at how rapidly the US media accepted and spread the US government’s story (confidently affirmed by president Obama) that North Korea was behind the Sony hack without any evidence being presented in support. Those of us who follow the news almost minimally know how the government has brazenly lied in the past and some may marvel that the media could have such short memories or be so obtuse as to accept these claims at face value. While there is a small possibility that North Korea was behind the attack, the fact that a week has gone by since the supposedly offending film The Interview was shown and the promised apocalypse still hasn’t occurred suggests that a non-state actor was behind the original hack and other players later exploited the situation and sowed confusion for who knows what reason.
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The US government vs. Barrett Brown

Many people may not have heard of Barrett Brown. He is a 33-year old journalist who has been hounded by the US government because he exposed its wrongdoings using documents that had been obtained by the hacktivist group Anonymous. He seemed to have informal links to Anonymous and was willing to publicly engage with reporters about what they were doing. As a result, he was sometimes referred to as their spokesperson though he and they denied it. In some ways, he was a precursor to Edward Snowden. Kevin M. Gallagher gives us the back story.
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Why should we care about royal protocol?

Some years ago in a post titled God save us from the queen, I wrote about the absurd obsession that even people in the US, especially in the media, have with observing the ridiculous protocol rules that the British royal family tries to impose on everyone who comes in contact with them. That post was prompted by the US media getting the vapors and reaching for their smelling salts when the Obamas violated some absurdly trivial protocol rule when they visited Buckingham Palace, caused by Michelle Obama touching the Queen.
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First Look and The New Republic

First Look Media, the umbrella new media group that started The Intercept, went through a rough patch with the sudden departure of Matt Taibbi over management issues and the shelving of the magazine he was brought in to launch called The Racket. But Glenn Greenwald today has some good news about the hiring of Betsy Reed as Editor-in-Chief to replace John Cook who is going back to his former home at Gawker.
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The unraveling of Bill Cosby’s reputation continues

More and more stories are emerging that are contradicting Bill Cosby’s reputation as a genial and avuncular person. It has been hard for most people to swallow, given the overwhelmingly positive public image he has had. I had never watched his hit TV shows or seen his comedy routines so perhaps had not fallen under his spell as much as others and so the allegations did not seem as unbelievable to me.
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Changes in NPR’s ‘clock’

In the mornings, I have NPR on while I go about the various things that need to be done around the house while I get ready for work, and again on the drive to work. Doing so serves two purposes. One is that I get to hear various news items in the background while another is that the regular routine in the way that the segments are broken up gives me a sense of what time it is without actually having to look at the clock.
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This should not be a surprise

The Hill reports with surprise something that could have been easily predicted. Under the headline “Obama veers left after red wave”, it says:

President Obama has taken significant steps to the left since his party’s devastating losses in the midterm elections.

In a surprise, he announced a major deal on climate change with China during a trip to Beijing Tuesday. That followed another unanticipated move — a Monday statement pressuring the Federal Communications Commission to adopt new net neutrality rules for the Internet.

The moves are helping to rally a dispirited Democratic base while re-establishing Obama’s political leadership after he was sidelined during the midterms.

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