Jack Shafter at Politico says it's well past time to "pull the plug" on cable "news", certainly as far as acting like it's so damn important. The big three traditionally over-the-air networks pull in five times the viewers for their nightly news broadcasts than all the big three prime-time cable news programs put together, and it doesn't get any better when you compare them to other audiences (Netflix streamers outnumber prime-time cable "news" watchers by about 17 to 1). Problem is these channels make so much money from advertisers and cable corporations, all about as equally-deluded as to cable "news"'s importance. And that's why we'll keep telling big cable corporations to drop cable "news" channels.
Two Georgia election workers sue right-wing website Gateway Pundit for defamation. Their suit alleges that Gateway Pundit "repeatedly published demonstrably false claims that portrayed the women as 'traitors' who conspired to 'steal the presidential election in Georgia'," which apparently "incited months of death threats and harassment against them." I wouldn't put it past Gateway Pundit to assert an absence of malice because they would have attacked any election workers, not just the plaintiffs! In any case, I wish the plaintiffs the best in their efforts to get justice for what's been done to them.
Ben Horton at TruthOut reminds us that "Corporate Political Spending is Bad for Democracy", and I bring it partly because Mr. Horton actually provides some solutions in a post-Citizens United world, including limiting SuperPAC contributions and banning contributions from corporations with "substantial" foreign ownership. I also bring it up because it turns out former Supreme Court Justice Byron White, in a 1978 dissent, put the problem as succinctly as I've seen it put: our First Amendment doesn't "the public to allow 'its own creation to consume it.'" We would have to be nihilists to demand that our First Amendment provide the means for its own destruction, after all.
Margaret Hartmann at New York magazine reminds us that Dr. Mehmet Oz's Senate run in Pennsylvania forces us to "to reckon with Oprah Winfrey’s penchant for promoting pseudoscience that harms society." She brought Dr. Oz to the masses, after all, just as she brought Jenny McCarthy's anti-vaccine malarkey from the middle of the 2000s to the masses. She also brought Dr. Phil to the masses; the only advice most of Dr. Phil's couples deserved was "I want you two to go back in time and prevent yourselves from ever meeting," and now Dr. Phil ain't a good place to go for COVID advice, either. Ms. Hartmann's article is very well-sourced, by the way; acquaint yourself with Dr. Oz's fall from early grace now and maybe we can prevent him from winning later. (As an aside, of course all the Trumpian Islamophobes will rally to Dr. Oz's side. He tells them what they want to hear, after all, and how else to convince yourself you're not prejudiced by carefully tabulating all your non-WASP friends?)
When I hear that Joe Manchin will join all 50 Senate Republicans in passing one of those notorious "resolutions of disapproval" aiming to take down President Biden's vaccine mandate, I note that he says we should "we should incentivize, not penalize, private employers whose responsibility it is to protect their employees from COVID-19," and I wonder why do we even have Republicans? They no doubt appreciate him making their arguments for them, but I must also ask: if it's employers' "responsibility" "to protect their employees from COVID-19," why wouldn't we punish them for evading that responsibility? I'd ask if he "incentivized" his kids doing their homework by giving them cookies before they did it, but given how his daughter turned out, I think I already know the answer.
Finally, I know the almost-shutdown is so last week's news already, but dig how House speaker Nancy Pelosi attacks the Republicans who would have shut it down in order to defund vaccine mandates: "How do they explain to the public that they're shutting down government because they don't want people to get vaccinated?" They say "Democrats can't message," but I think that's brilliant messaging, and I have to wonder why our "liberal" media doesn't recognize it as such. I can't decide if it's more because she's not a Republican or because she's not a man.