Authoritarian Risk, Fox Fake News & Sinclair Broadcast Group…. 

Spread the news far & wide of news sources that provide the voices of reason & common sense, such as thevoracs.com, since the American public more than ever need exposed to non-fake news providing real facts & the truth.  Millions of conservatives have been bamboozled into believing the nonsensical rants coming from the hardcore rightwing echo-chamber, which is virtually destroying the GOP as a viable party & source of good for America.  They (the echo) have taken what was once pragmatic conservatism, shifted it so far to the extreme-right it has become virtually unrecognizable, so their rhetoric has become nothing but a total bastardization of conservatism.  I’m a conservative who can’t even recognize the evil mindset the echo has wrought.  Without a sane conservative party, which it’s currently disastrous a large faction of that party are possessed of a cultish group-think even accepting of autocratic demagoguery, our American democracy has come under assault.  The VORACS is one weapon we can use to fight back, which I urge all patriotic Americans to use our weapons every chance we get: trump-authoritarianism-republicans-contract.

I keep warning, Trump corrupts all those he touches.  Once most people begin to recognize fascism is starting to take hold in America, it may be too late.  We need to make preemptive strikes against this scourge invading our nation, & as I also keep warning, don’t think it (fascism) could never happen here.  The ingredients are coming together, in a sleazy con man backed by his state-run echo & mesmerized base who can see no wrong in their dictatorial leader, as they relentlessly launch attacks on the courts, media, intelligence agencies & any political opposition.  What once were respected GOP leadership are now cowering under this avalanche of dangerous bullying, arm-twisting & deception coming from Trump, his messaging source & his fans, so these party leaders have become cowardly & feckless to push back against this potential authoritarian wave.  As Americans, we can’t just sit back & allow this de-facto coup to just happen!

I heard David Gergen say last night, at this stage democracy is in danger.  It’s happened recently with around a dozen formerly democratic nations that have been taken over by extremist strongmen, & that’s the risk we could face in America as Trump weakens our democratic institutions.  When a credible source like David Gergen says it, we’d better pay attention.  Please peruse the link titles in the first group of Related Articles below, since there are several excellent articles, as America may now be in a more precarious spot than people realize.  Inside the link madeleine-albright-warns-dont-let-fascism-go-unnoticed-until-its-too-late, this is how the article begins:

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright describes herself as an “optimist who worries a lot.” And lately, it seems, there has been much to worry about. Albright’s new book, Fascism: A Warning, starts by describing how Hitler and Mussolini came to power in the 20th century, then warns about today’s authoritarian rulers in Eastern Europe, North Korea, Turkey and Russia. Albright, who was born in Czechoslovakia and fled with her family after the Nazis occupied the country in 1939, notes that the United States has traditionally been viewed as a nation that opposes authoritarianism and supports democratic principles and human rights, but that perception is changing — in part because of President Trump. While Albright does not call Trump a fascist, she says that he is “the most anti-democratic leader that I have studied in American history.” “We’re not fulfilling the role that we’re supposed to,” she says of the United States today. “I believe very much that democracy in the United States is resilient [and] that people can be skeptical about things that are going on, but I really am afraid that we are taking things for granted.”

We’re seeing very scary trends, as revealed here in these excerpts from dictators-shirking-their-nations-democratic-facades-more-brazenly:

What is behind this democratic malaise? One cause is the declining feeling that liberal democracy is the only legitimate political model, particularly with China offering an alternative that combines a strong party-state with guided capitalism. As long as autocracies like China and Russia are seen as successful rising powers, countries will gravitate toward them. This autocratic pull has combined with a weakening push from democracies to follow even the pretense of democratic norms. President Trump recently made headlines by congratulating Putin and Sisi on their “election” victories. This fits alongside Trump’s praise for strongmen like Putin, Xi and the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte. Yet this is not all Trump’s innovation — the U.S. declined to call a coup a coup when Sisi initially took power (which would have mandated a shutoff of aid), and the European Union has reacted weakly so far to democratic decline in Poland and Hungary.

Especially as democracies decline in prestige and relative power, their unwillingness to defend democratic standards opens the doors to autocratic ascendancy. This is how we get 97-percent election victories in a country seven years removed from Tahrir Square and an invigorated Russia interfering at will with democratic elections abroad. Responding to this challenge requires more effective messaging on the benefits of democracy and restrained government. Democracies and international institutions also need to renew their commitments to rigorously defend standards of democracy and rule of law. Term limits often galvanize protest when dictators move to abolish them because they represent such a basic principle — that no one should be permanently entrenched in power. Dictators rarely agree with such principles, at least not without a fight. 

 

These next excerpts come from an excellent op-ed can-democracy-survive-information-overload, where all the chaos & misinformation we’re currently flooded with could be the major obstacles to overcome in preserving democracy:

 

This inescapable, overwhelming and disorienting flurry of activity, which has become the new normal since Trump’s inauguration, begs two simple but profound questions: Can democracy survive information overload? And can it survive a president who knows how to use the resulting chaos to dodge democratic accountability? Authoritarian rulers have long understood that controlling and manipulating information are crucial to subverting democracy and getting away with breaking the rules. That’s why dictatorial governments such as China and Russia not only work overtime to control media and censor inconvenient facts but also use troll armies to spew out 24/7 torrents of disinformation. Despite Trump’s obvious envy of such methods, he’s stuck with American democracy, so he has innovated out of necessity. He can’t shut down the press or censor Democrats, but he can blind the American electorate with a steady smokescreen of bewildering stories pouring out of the White House. From Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama, any one of those stories above would have captivated national attention for weeks, or more likely, months. But with Trump, even the most scandalous topic soon disappears into a never-ending flow of revelations. By the time the morning news shows end, it’s on to the next spectacle of dysfunction. We’re living in a chronic state of whiplash.

 

The deluge of bizarre and jarring stories is overwhelming. Few citizens can keep up. For those who do, it’s an exhausting full-time job. Which is, apparently, fine with the president. Trump not only revels in chaos; he exploits it as a political strategy. Democracy requires “informed consent” of the governed. Citizens need to have some idea of what’s going on if they want to hold elected officials accountable. But when five bombshells explode each day, citizens shrug in resignation, and soon they’re letting once-unacceptable behavior slide. As information floods our lives and drowns out rational debate, it gets harder to tell what is a big deal and what is not, what is a real policy change and what is just Trumpian bluster – and, crucially, what is true and what is false. As a result, the biggest challenge to democracy in the 21st century is that uninformed voters are being replaced by misinformed ones. Uninformed people rarely vote. Misinformed people do — and often vote to blow up the system based on their misconceptions of it. Usually, democracy withers when there is too little information, strangled by autocratic control or dictatorial censorship. Trump — that perpetual motion machine of news — is proving, day after crazy day, that democracy can also be suffocated by too much.

 

 

Anyone of sound mind should be able to see through the lies & fake news regularly aired on Hannity & other deceptive Fox/echo shows.  Those who can’t, we need to try & help them.  In sending out this blog site along with the numerous relevant links in the Related Articles, we have a chance at puncturing holes in the hermetically-sealed echo-bubble, hopefully changing minds or just taking the hard edge off those bombastic/nihilistic propaganda-entertainment shows.  In the Fox group of links, the first article is deep-inside-foxlandia-trump-always-wins, which their term Foxlandia is really synonymous with the echo & function as Trump cheerleaders.  We should warn Fox viewers their loyalties could be complicit in a slide towards authoritarianism:

Foxlandia, to be clear, isn’t synonymous with Fox News, though they overlap. Foxlandia is the nexus of all of Trump’s favorite information sources and personalities and Rasmussen pollsters — the chorus of voices that tell him what he wants to hear. Foxlandia, of course, is occasionally capable of getting Trump to believe he’s not winning uniformly everywhere. All that coverage of the caravan and criticism of him for failing to get his wall got him to send in the troops. But if there’s a trade war, inside Foxlandia you can bet that the coverage of it will only confirm that Trump is fighting the enemies that Foxlandia wants him to fight — and, of course, vanquishing them.

There are some articles like last-word-media-matters-matthew-gertz-describes-strange-and-disturbing-trumpfox-feedback-loop which point out the White House is largely operating based on what is said on Fox.  That is truly a terrifying thought, that we are essentially being governed based on lies.  And they’ll stop at nothing to stop Mueller, which lately we’ve seen the attacks on Rosenstein being ratcheted up, from which we must call out their lies: fox-legal-analyst-creates-conspiracy-theory-nonsense-alleging-rosenstein-mueller-colluded.  This paragraph below I pulled from backlash-against-laura-ingraham-points-to-fragility-of-fox-news-opinion-offerings

The fuller story here is that the opinion hours at Fox News — especially the prime-time shows “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” “Hannity” and “The Ingraham Angle” — are among the most toxic zones in all of American television. For this running liability, Fox News can thank … itself. It allowed Glenn Beck to spin his hatred and destructive meanderings until he faced an advertiser retreat that bounced him from the lineup. It allowed Bill O’Reilly to rack up settlement after settlement with accusers until it all spilled out in a New York Times investigative report that triggered an advertiser desertion. Itallowed Sean Hannity to hatch his own version of the truth, which included a Seth Rich conspiracy theory that inspired a similar action. And so it now takes but the most minor kerfuffle to inspire skittishness among companies that do business in this space.

A new enemy has surfaced in Sinclair Broadcast Group.  They’re not really new, but that cancer is spreading to more local TV stations around the country.  Just like with Fox & the rest of the echo, it’s important we expose their nonsense:sinclair-broadcast-group-conservative-trump-david-smith-local-news-tv-affiliate.  There are numerous links about Sinclair Broadcast Group in the Related Articles, which check out this conclusion to the article sinclairs-remarkable-gaslighting-operation:

“Bottom Line” is proof that the Trump goal of delegitimizing the American press is better served by placing his lackeys in the press, rather than keeping them in some White House sinecure. In commentary after commentary, Epshteyn’s focus is classic counterprogramming aimed at convincing members of his audience that the news they’re finding elsewhere doesn’t merit their time. Chaos? Doesn’t exist. Spicer’s ruinous tenure at the podium? Media’s fault. This strain of programming comports with the tenor of a controversial “must-run” script that Sinclair management recently shoved down the throats of anchors at the company’s stations — and that became a national media obsession this week. The script echoed Trumpian sensibilities about the unreliability of the media. “Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think,’” reads one part of the script. Sinclair is seeking regulatory approval for a $3.9 billion acquisition of the 40-odd Tribune television stations, with reviews at the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission.

 

In his Wednesday edition of “Bottom Line,” Epshteyn defended his commentary from critics of Sinclair. “As you see, my segments are very clearly marked as ‘commentary.’ The same cannot be said for cable and broadcast news hosts who inject their opinions and bias into news coverage all the time without drawing any lines between them,” he said, in part. Those segments are erroneously marked. A better tag would be “A Couple of Minutes of Gaslighting With Boris,” or, for more clarity, “Your Propaganda Break With Boris.” There’s an argument for remaining calm about Sinclair’s shenanigans, as articulated by Politico’s Jack Shafer. “I might join the liberal dither if Sinclair wiped out its competition on the dial. But as long as I can still change my local channel and avoid Sinclair’s partisan hackery, where’s the crisis?” he asked. What Sinclair, Epshteyn and Trump are doing, however, transcends mere channel preferences. They’re trying to sever an entire population — their followers, that is — from the truth about their deeds.

 

The deception & dangers inherent in Sinclair Broadcast Group are also revealed inside links like sinclair-broadcasting-promo-deadspin & also these excerpts from the-real-and-disheartening-danger-of-the-sinclair-story:

 

It is ironic that in an era when fake news from outside sources (see: Russia) is a legitimate worry — and when important journalism is being conducted at some of the very institutions Sinclair has chosen to criticize — this mega-multiplatform media conglomerate is directly imposing its own agenda on unwitting audiences. The obvious question should be that once you have hundreds of stations regurgitating the same message to millions of people, how do neutral, third-party entities combat the disinformation?

 

It is a serious question and it wasn’t always thus. Warring of media factions where fact and fiction compete for attention is both self-congratulatory and self-defeating. No one wins in the end. Do the media bear some of the blame? Absolutely. Instances of obvious media bias have contributed to the lack of faith that Trump has so masterfully nurtured. But there is a vast difference between editorials and news — or should be — and most traditional news organizations work diligently to protect this essential separation, which is as sacrosanct as that between church and state. Credibility is the only coin of the realm.

 

Sinclair, by contrast, seems to consider its news stations, mostly in those markets where Trump is still popular, to be personal editorial outlets. With few exceptions, most Sinclair-owned stations had their anchors read the statement, which, reportedly, made many of them squirm. After all, some of those same anchors no doubt hope someday to move up to larger markets and to some of these traditional “fake news” outlets. This is the real and disheartening danger. How does a free nation remain free without a vibrant fourth estate? When a media company as vast and penetrating as Sinclair can claim the moral high road, while molding and marshaling public thought essentially against a free press, it seems not irrational to fear a future featuring a Soviet-style propagandist state.

In the last group of links, we see a wide array of crazies & liars from echo-sources.  This research from researchers-say-fake-news-had-substantial-impact-on-2016-election provides evidence that fake news, largely provided by the Russians, may have taken the election results out of the hands of American voters, with a foreign enemy actually determining the outcome.  Putin called the shots & got his wish in electing his good ole buddy Trump.  These are indeed scary & surreal times America faces!  Here are excerpts:

A team of researchers at Ohio State University conclude in a new study that “fake news” stories had a significant impact on voters in the 2016 presidential election that may have impacted the final result. A team of researchers at Ohio State University conclude in a new study that “fake news” stories had a significant impact on voters in the 2016 presidential election that may have impacted the final result. The study, first reported by The Washington Post on Tuesday, sought to measure the degree to which false news stories dissuaded voters who cast ballots for President Obama in 2012 from voting for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016. While the researchers emphasized that they could not definitively say that fake news “caused” Obama voters to defect from Clinton in 2016, they nevertheless concluded that these stories had a “substantial impact” on voters that may have been sufficient enough to swing the election to Donald Trump.

 

“Our analysis leads us to the conclusion that fake news most likely did have a substantial impact on the voting decisions of a strategically important set of voters—those who voted for Barack Obama in 2012,” the researchers wrote. “Indeed, given the very narrow margins of victory by Donald Trump in key battleground states, this impact may have been sufficient to deprive Hillary Clinton of a victory in the Electoral College.” As part of a broader campaign to influence the 2016 election, Russia used social media trolls and state-run outlets to peddle fake news stories. Special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russians over the stories, alleging an elaborate plot to use social media to spread divisive political and cultural content. The study, first reported by The Washington Post on Tuesday, sought to measure the degree to which false news stories dissuaded voters who cast ballots for President Obama in 2012 from voting for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016.

 

While the researchers emphasized that they could not definitively say that fake news “caused” Obama voters to defect from Clinton in 2016, they nevertheless concluded that these stories had a “substantial impact” on voters that may have been sufficient enough to swing the election to Donald Trump. “Our analysis leads us to the conclusion that fake news most likely did have a substantial impact on the voting decisions of a strategically important set of voters—those who voted for Barack Obama in 2012,” the researchers wrote. “Indeed, given the very narrow margins of victory by Donald Trump in key battleground states, this impact may have been sufficient to deprive Hillary Clinton of a victory in the Electoral College.” As part of a broader campaign to influence the 2016 election, Russia used social media trolls and state-run outlets to peddle fake news stories. Special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russians over the stories, alleging an elaborate plot to use social media to spread divisive political and cultural content. 

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Sinclair Broadcast Group also dangerous

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Dangerous Nutballs
 
 
Views from the far-left….
We need a counter to the radical right, so I give you Kos articles.  Maybe not up to journalistic standards, but still a lot more accurate & based on reality than what has become of the right-wing echo….