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Welcome to the Vortex

Todd Gitlin

I spent most of 2016 doing my duty as citizen, writer and educator aghast at the favors done for the unprincipled, incoherent, vicious, dangerous ignoramus Donald Trump by the business known as “the media,” formerly known as “the press” — an enterprise accorded privileges by the US Constitution on the quaint 18th-century belief that if the people are informed, they will make better judgments than if they are less so.


With all due respect to Todd Gitlin, pumping shrill bellows about the shrill bellows being pumped remains a few strides short of coherent alternatives.
One question Mr. Gitlin:
Why is there no mention of the spectrum of sound, reputable documentation sites that have been around for decades, doing the heavy lifting, setting the foundations for alternatives? I would submit that readers here might be able to provide you with a lengthy starter list. For example: Center for Investigative Reporting and Sunlight Foundation to mention only two and invite others to add to the list. There are groups documenting ecological cases to turn around - and they have been managing to serve the public well; Human rights and civil rights... the list goes on. People poohpooh online petitions, yet these are legitimate rallying points that also serve to document responses on issues - albeit no replacement for actual engagement on the ground.

Don't get nasty and angry. Get informed and work to build that rather than descending into the mud pit. Or - when you DO descend into the mud pit, transform it, don't just talk about it because there is this thing called TIME in which people organize.

Notable is the social media functional appellation 'followers' - not good when over a half century of impoverishment of the public civic life narrows a democracy from organic breadth of 'advise and consent' by means of fraudulent economic 'theory' touted by the 'school' of Milton Friedman and Chicago boys - in retrospect internationally active organized criminals cutting their teeth by conducting coups. There's a maelstrom that has settled into a broad patch of quicksand just waiting to suck anyone down who plays with the vipers in the pit.


"The Joneses, the Bannons, the Hannitys are not lovers of freedom, democracy, justice or truth. Their cynicism is breathtaking. They believe in nothing but raw power, above all the power of their own braying."

Well, sure. But how is this not true of most of the political elite, especially the Clintons? Remember, it was the Hillary campaign that encouraged their collaborators in the corporate media (CNN = Clinton News Network) to promote Trump's campaign from the beginning, because they thought that Trump would be easy for Hillary to beat.


Thank you. This point must absolutely not be forgotten.


So all suspicion that all's not kosher about 9/11 (Saudis escorted out of country, Bush Cheney secret unrecorded "testimony" not under oath, etc. etc. etc) reduces itself to Alex Jones madness.

So the Russians really DID hack the election and as for the contents of the emails ... pish tosh.

Finally, Todd, I notice that not a word appears in your article about the "coverage" of ... wait for it ... dare I even utter the cursed words? .... oh what the hell ... BERNIE SANDERS.

You good old truth-teller you.:grimacing:


It was a fine article except the author really let Clinton off the hook. While I will agree that Trump is worse than Clinton, I can't say he is much worse. Both leaders are corporate sycophants that support endless military spending, refuse to commit to Kyoto calls to combat global warming, both agree to expanding the U.S. nuclear arsenal and both lie to the public en masse.


Guilin has a big ethical problem, one that seriously undermines his complaints about our present information environment: he's a big supporter of the biggest and most persistently pushed "fake news" meme of the last 60 years: the idea that Israel is a) a democratic state and b) that it wants peace more than the ability to steal Palestinian land and use it as it sees fit.

When he reconciles his his residual tribalist reflexes--and with it his largely uncritically embrace of the master narratives of Israeli propaganda--with his admirable moral instincts, I'd be glad to admit and embrace his critiques. Until that happens, I'll consider him one of those people who--owing to their consisten strategic omissions of the imperial crimes of the US and Israel--belong in the category of liberalism's very useful idiots.


No, I am seeker of basic moral consistency. And you? Probably a liberal who likes to talk about the deplorable nature of non-liberal others while carefully making sure to exempt slavish liberal supporters US and Israeli imperialism from your critical purview. In the current context this, sadly, makes you much more American than me.


By calling it "the liberal media", you are letting the neoliberal media off the hook.

Online Direct Democracy


"The liberal media" is actually "the neoliberal media". Big difference.


You have either willingly or unwittingly missed the train. This blog epitomizes prolix, whining tripe.


Yeah, good argument!


Liberal = Bernie
Neoliberal = Hillary

The neoliberal media pushed Hillary and ignored Bernie, the strongest candidate.


I'm sick of liberals and leftists whining about Trump. Sure it's terrible that he's going to be president but it's not like Clinton would be better.

By promoting anti-Russian policies over the last 20+ years the Clintons and their supporters have discredited the Left, liberalism and the Democratic party. I've had it with the lot of them.


I agree, but didn't JFK try that when he said he was going to break the CIA into a thousand pieces?