Tag Archives: media

Aaron Sorkin Saves Failing Institutions, Part Deux

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Waaay back in the 1990s, there was a little show called ‘West Wing’ that made the world want to wrap itself in a great, big collective American flag.

The writers were very effective at making people believe that some good in the world while Georgie Jr. pissed all over the democratic institutions of the US, the UN and chopped at the rest of the tender threads that held us all together.

‘West Wing’ made us think that something good was happening while wars were being declared left, right and centre and while the US went into the most rapid and ridiculous decline; faster than any other country or organization in the history of humankind.

We were duped into believing that there was something worth believing in.

Aaron Sorkin and the rest of the crew of writers that put together ‘The West Wing’ fooled us into believing that democracy in America was alive and well.

Or was it a well-crafted effort to try to fight back against the criminality of the Bush administration?  You decide.

Need reminders?

After Bush stole the US election in 2000, the planned and now obvious plot concerning 9/11 designed to rope Americans into a tight pen of security and scrutiny; and after the sad failure of Bush vs Gore in 2004, we see the wreckage today surrounding us with words like ‘credit debt swaps’, ‘lower income taxes’, ‘tea party’, ‘austerity’, ‘bank bailouts’, ‘99% vs 1%’, ‘budget cuts’, ‘libertarian’, ‘if you’re not with us, you’re against us’ … and so on.

Today, Aaron Sorkin and crew take us on another fantasy ride to show that the magical world of media is real, it hasn’t changed and it’s no longer honest.

But don’t let that get in the way of spinning a good tale …


Well, all of this is a load of crap designed to lull us once again into complacency.

Today’s media is owned by a small cabal of investors planning on controlling humanity for their own profit.  Today’s media is rife with corruption.  Today’s media knows nothing about truth because the dollar has bought everyone out.  Today’s media is bankrupt.

Thankfully, we still have the ability to call bullshit on these people, but that plug is about to be pulled as well when laws like ACTA, TPP, Bill C-11 and a myriad other ropes cinch a noose around our collective necks and we all find ourselves in public funded private prisons.

It’ll be interesting to see how we’re shaped into feeling good about the institutions crashing down around us.

What’s next?  A show about marriages that pretends divorce doesn’t exist?

Category: media, propaganda | Tags: ,

Understanding the Current Canadian Political Situation

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The Canadian political landscape has a number of “elements” in play right now, all designed to confuse the hell out of the average Canadian voter.

I want to try to use this piece to dissect a couple of contentious activities.  That’s your cue to grab a cup of coffee and snuggle in for a few minutes because this does not merit a quick glance.

Robo-calls, Voter Suppression, Voter Lists & Marketing

Many in the media are asking really stupid questions right now about the depth and breadth of capabilities with respect to tracking individuals, their voter preferences and so on.  Others are asking equally naive questions about the range of marketing activities that are NOT organized in Canada.

Obviously, none of them have ever worked in the loyalty marketing business.  Or direct marketing business.  Or telemarketing businesses.  Or the advertising agency world.  Or online advertising.  Or politics.

They all seem to have this ‘Gee whiz’ kind of mindset that reinforces that they are clearly locked in the ‘Madmen’ era of when advertisers and communications experts didn’t have a clue about what they were doing, but still took all the credit when they sold a car or two because of a sexy car ad or funny catch phrase with toilet paper.

Guess what.  Things have changed.  A long ago, actually.

I don’t know if it’s intentional on behalf of the media pundits and journalists to seem stupid or if they just are stupid, but they are definitely missing the point that any organization can collect pretty much anything they want on me, my buying habits, my nose-picking habits, how many times I have a bowel movement and so on.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that one of the few exceptions to unsolicited calls – political parties – probably have the most complex databases concerning the activities of every single Canadian.

Further to this basic idea that enormous masses of data are being collected about every single one of our habits is the seeming surprise about the extent to which this is organized by American and generally non-Canadian companies.

The Airmiles program is owned by an American company.  Nearly every large agency in Canada is just a tiny cog in the enormous machinery of the top-5 global agencies and very few real decisions are actually made in Canada.

Hell, even StatsCan data now lies with Lockheed-Martin, a very not-Canadian company and one of the world’s largest manufacturers of military equipment.

That said, there continues to be a sense of surprise when we hear about American parent companies being involved with marketing decisions.  Sadly, many Canadians don’t realize that this is just routine.

The Solution?

The solution to the issue with robo-calls and resulting voter suppression is simple:  allow Canadians to add their names to the same Do Not Call Lists that the CRTC maintains when you get annoying calls about credit card offers, instant vacation awards, police balls and other crap.

More importantly, we need more control over our personal and private information.  If a political party wants to contact me, they need my permission first.  Email works that way.  Why can’t phone calls?

On the note about the agency world and most decisions being made outside Canada, that topic is beyond the scope of what is already a very long rant about our Canadian corporate and political environment.

Demographics, Dummygraphics and Datagraphics

I think we’ve all heard the term ‘demographics’ before.  It basically applies to groups of people, their behaviours and the impact of those behaviours.  ‘Baby Boomers’, ‘Generation X’ and ‘Digital Natives’ are all terms that relate to demographics.

Of course, marketers have stepped things up substantially and have designed and developed hundreds of categories related to individuals and their buying, political interests, love activities, drinking habits and so on and continue to collect this information so long as you use a credit card, bank card, cell phone, Gmail account, search and pretty much do anything else.

Dummygraphics is a new term that I will use here to describe a group of people that believe what the media and politicians tell them.  My first instincts with this word is that Boomers fit nicely into this category, but they don’t.  Dummygraphics apply to people that simply don’t get the idea that someone out there is lying to them so that they can gain at your expense.

People that receive phone calls on their land lines telling them repeatedly that they’re Liberals and that they want to piss you off even if you’re a card-carrying Liberal because we’re going to keep calling are locked into two issues:  they don’t know how to ignore the phone and they can’t get their name removed from voter calling lists.

Political cynics (and I won’t say Conservatives because I don’t want to fall victim to a $5 million lawsuit) leverage this stupidity to their advantage and win elections.  It sounds harsh, but it’s that simple.

If you believe that it’s all just one great big coincidence, you fit neatly into the Dummygraphic category.

Datagraphics is almost the opposite of Dummygraphics.  I don’t want to pretend that this group of people is smarter than the first, but there are hints that they too are cynics and will at least seek out alternatives when someone tells them a lie about simple things like polling stations.  They’ll double check their voter registration card.  They’ll call Elections Canada.  They’ll check with their local MP.

People in the Datagraphic category will find themselves reading alternatives to the mainstream media.  Not everything the Globe and Mail or Toronto Star says is paved with good intentions.  That’s (nearly) impossible when the party in power also pulls the strings with advertising budgets for Defense recruiting, Action Plans, CRA awareness and so on to the tune of $300-$500 million per year.

If you don’t believe, take a gander at the May 2011 election list of newspaper endorsements where nearly ALL of the mainstream media voices endorsed the very people that the majority of Canadians are working very hard to eliminate.  Not much of a challenge given that the mainstream media in Canada is really just 4-5 mega-conglomerates, including Bell, Rogers, Quebecor, Shaw, Telus, Transcontinental and Astral Communications.

The Solution?

Obviously, I have a bias to the Datagraphic category, but want to ensure that they get the right information.  We need to defeat Canada’s media conglomerates by shutting off our cell phones, signing up with Internet companies like TekSavvy and starving them of our attention.

Only when we boycott the major perpetrators of these crimes – our media conglomerates – will we see a little more balance in Canadian politics.

The other more actionable solution is to CHECK INFORMATION WHEN SOMEONE TELLS YOU SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR VOTING STATION.  Don’t take everything for granted and don’t believe some jack-ass who calls you in the middle of the night to tell you have to go to another county to vote.

The Merging of Business and Politics

The current array of scandals we’re enduring in Canada are, in my opinion, what happens when you merge business and politics.  More importantly, it’s a glimpse of what will happen as public policy becomes more commercial as opposed to public.

Robo-calls, tele-marketing, consumer lists, phone lists and so on all have nothing to do with public policy.  They have everything to do with coercion and the dying days of broadcasting.

You see, broadcast is nearly extinct.  It’s breathing its last breath.  TV, print and radio were once the “three legs that help up the table of marketing success”, but they no longer reach the audiences that they used to.  There’s too much fragmentation in the marketplace.  Therefore, we see a last desperate scramble to to control these last few modes of communication before they become completely pointless in the realm of politics.  And everything else, for that matter.

We’re already seeing the cracks in the strategy.  Anyone that does robo-calls has to do them to land lines.  Cell phone lines are too risky because histories are traced more effectively, messages can be recorded and easily shared and we return to the demographic discussion.  Most elderly people have land lines and most elderly people are prone to trust or believe someone when they get called by someone out of the blue telling them that they have to go to another polling station to vote.

My prediction is that the 2011 election will be the last effective use of this shameful and disgusting tactic because a growing percentage of the population – even those in the Dummygraphic category – will be using Internet connections for their land-lines and cell phone more frequently as their primary mode of communication.

Anyways, the key point here is that we – Earthlings, to be exact, but I’ll be happy if we start as Canadians – have been remiss in demanding a very simple idea:  the separation of State and Corporation.  In the Revolution Years, we demanded separation of Church and State and now we have to go the next step or we will LOSE ALL FREEDOMS in the interest of letting others making money of our personal information.

Especially political cynics and crooks.

The Solution?

Let’s be clear that I’m not anti-corporate or even anti-capitalist.

I just don’t think the merging of business and public policies are good ideas.  It’s impossible to build railroads, national digital strategies and other long-term investments when stockholders demand gains in the next quarter.

I’m not sure how it will be done, but we have to at least start sharing ideas about how to keep corporations out of our lives.

Bill C-30 and Anonymous

Rumour has it that ‘Anonymous’ is nothing but a tool of the CIA.  I doubt it’s true, but if it is, we see how Anonymous continues to fuck things up for your average Joe by dragging personal information about Vic Toews or anyone else out into the public domain.

It’s just not right.

Their actions, therefore, help reinforce the rumours and actually help to steel the resolve of ‘tough on crime’ morons by giving them all the excuses they need to remove the wonderful and powerful thing known as anonymity.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the pressure continues to mount, media morons chime in with the idea that we should have better capabilities when it comes to tracking and ultimately, robo-calling may even fall into this category as justification for better scrutiny to protect Canadians from those who would steer us wrong.

Imagine that:  Anonymous responsible for Bill C-30 so that we can get to the bottom of what’s happening with robo-calls and voter suppression.

How bizarre.

All of a sudden, the robo-call situation becomes Canada’s very own version of a digital equivalent to the Reichstag Fire.

Another issue in all of this?  I believe the whole thing is a sham because if the government or law enforcers want to collect information about me, they can and without a warrant.  Child pornographers are arrested every day as a result of following the law.

What’s critical in all of this is that we are starting to see that none of our politicians with any party want Canadians to know just how much THEY know about US.  If you knew, you’d be pissed and outraged and this very idea threatens politics in Canada substantially more than phone-call hijinks.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if investigations actually found that one or many of our politicians were in breach of Canadian privacy laws.

A Final Plea

If you’re one of the many people that worked on political campaigns through the spring of 2011 and you witnessed or were privy to some questionable tactics, please contact Elections Canada.

Our democracy desperately needs a handful of people who will make things right.

You’ve probably had non-disclosure agreements and threats of lawsuits thrown at you if you open your mouth about anything that you witnessed, but WE NEED YOU.  We need your courage.  We need your strength.  We need your knowledge.

When you come forward, Canadians will protect you because you’ll be doing the right thing.

And if you don’t?  Be prepared for a big-ass warrant to come your way and get your sphincter lubed up for some fun times in the joint because you will not be treated kindly by anyone that knocks on your door looking for information.

And the Conservatives will NOT have your back.

Mysteries Surrounding the GOP Race, MSM, CNN and the CBC

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I didn’t think I’d really care about what happens with the GOP (Republican) race in the US, but the reality is that there is one candidate that makes sense to me:  Ron Paul.

And there’s something that doesn’t make sense to me:  the coverage (or lack thereof) of this candidate and the other candidates being presented as the most likely to win.

How did Gingrich win South Carolina when he couldn’t even ‘pack’ a staged event?

The mainstream media wants to pretend he doesn’t exist and the GOP is engaging in vote fraud (what else is new, Bush 2000, Bush 2004) to ensure that either Gingrich or Romney win the Republican title.

Here are some examples of this disturbing trend:

CNN in the US has completely dropped Ron Paul from the list of Republican candidates, possibly because some of the people with CNN are married to the military establishment, but possibly because Ron Paul simply sends a message that they don’t like.

In a CNN poll buried along the right-hand column of the same news page, there’s a poll.  Here were the results yesterday afternoon, with more than 250,000 people answering the question:

CNN South Carolina Survey Ron Paul

Ron Paul is the leader, fighting it out with Romney.  Gingrich is a distant third.

If you don’t like these numbers, how about a little comedy from Jon Stewart:

What’s important is the lack of fair coverage with the likes of CNN.  The question is why?  Why would they risk any journalistic integrity that they purport to have and avoid coverage of this viable candidate.

Follow the moneyMany of the key players are the establishment that Ron Paul wants to do away with.  Anderson Cooper, ex-CIA, is also a member of the prestigious Vanderbilt family which, along with JP Morgan, Rockefeller and others, pushed the US into reviving the Federal Reserve.

Under Ron Paul, many supporters hope that the military would face severe cuts (although this remains to be seen).  CNN reporter Gloria Borger is married to Lance Morgan, influential employee with Tate Powell, a lobby group in Washington.  Tate Powell also happens to represent the US military, US Chamber of Commerce and dozens of other organizations that wouldn’t be in favour of big cuts to the pork-barreling politics that is the US government today.

Now, I don’t really care about all of this, but I feel it’s important for people to understand that there are bigger things at play when it comes to what’s happening in US politics.

What I am truly bothered by is how the CBC trundles along with all of this crap and reports on how Ron Paul is a nobody and he’s ‘fading’.  If you look at the poll above, Paul is IN THE LEAD with popular vote, not fading.

Why would the CBC ‘shape news’ like this for Canadians when they have nothing to gain from it?

The only clue available on the links above is that the story is regurgitated from the Canadian Press, Canada’s for-profit propaganda source owned by Bell and others.  Perhaps they have everything to gain from unending war from the US?

Media Messaging – Using the ‘Right’ Terms

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While this is not the first time I’ve heard about ‘structuring language the ‘right’ way,it is a nice summary of the ways in which members of different conservative camps manipulate language.

Think about the use of these terms the next time you see something on Fox, Sun or the CTV.

Replacement words for conservatives:

Capitalism Free Market Economy

Tax Reform Tax Simplification

Drilling for oil Exploring for energy

School choice (ie. privatization of education) Equal opportunity in education

So … what would be an appropriate language for progressives or lefties?  Don’t forget that people like the NDP have even tried euphemisms like ‘social democrats’ to replace ‘socialists’, with partial success and don’t forget that the word ‘socialism’ strikes fear into most people that are even moderately conservative as they pull up images of Bob Rae plunging the Ontario into massive and unprecedented deficits.

Or do we even dare use language that is only used with the intent to mislead or manipulate or do we try to encourage people to use honest and frank language that spells out our issues and concerns with ‘government’ (or should I say ‘the people’s chosen ones’) today?

Media Madness & Politics

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It’s falling apart, but as the Rupert Murdoch media empire goes supernova, expect it to take a LOT of people with it.

First, start with the 10 questions that no one in Britain will ask Rupert Murdoch this afternoon.  This is because it seems like ALL of the British establishment is tainted with a disease known as “media madness” that has been rampaging their corridors for decades.

Which begs the question:  does Rupert Murdoch really give a shit about an inquiry?

Probably not.

‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone’, some dude in a desert once said.  It’s more true today than ever.

Taint.  It’s an ugly word.

The disease runs deep and the cure is not going to be pretty.

To appreciate what I’m talking about, we have to go back.

It all begins with commercial media getting more crass and useless since the dawn of the age of television.  Yes … that far back.  One might argue that the symptoms go back even further into the early days of print (example:  William Randolph Hearst), but the level of magnitude and collusion really hit stride in the 1960s when TVs quickly became a way of our lives.

Example:  John F. Kennedy won the 1960 Presidential election because he knew (or at least someone did) that TV would expose how unattractive Richard Nixon was.

The taint begins en masse.  Mass production became a no-brainer in the early days of mass communication because we all trusted the advertising that came with media because we all trusted the people within the media.

Flip forward to today.

Rupert Murdoch has his fingers in many pies.

And these are just the media companies.  We need to know (but will never know the truth) about things like the relationship between media and the police and the politicians that they’re protecting.  Or exposing.  How close are these relationships and what’s the true meaning of this for all of ‘lay people’ who just want to get on with our lives?

In Canada, our ‘mainstream media’ has become very tainted by the same symptoms:  supporting those that throw our money at them.  The taint continues.  For the last half decade, it’s been the Conservatives, but the Liberals are equally tainted.

They nosh and rub elbows with the media elite in order to get buy-in from the editorial staff.

The reward:  billions in ad spend.  The taint runs deep.

Time and time again, the federal government tends to be one of the biggest buyers of media.  Canada’s ‘Economic Action Plan’ diverted nearly $500 million in advertising dollars to the big media companies in the past few years and it probably won’t stop any time soon.

With this kind of close relationship, Canada may be in a similar media minefield as Murdoch and the folks in Britain.

For example, who ‘exposed’ the story about Jack Layton supposedly getting a ‘massage’ just days before the election date?  Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone has the stones to really find the answer to this question, including myself.  The cost is too high and the secrets too close.

However, there’s no doubt here:  as Murdoch media madness evolves into something bigger and uglier, the citizens of the world need to ask why we let ourselves get into this mess.

More importantly, how do we get out of it?