Rise to the Call for Real American Media

Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 2.19.40 PMRemember when corporate owned mainstream media was relevant? Me either. Not to any meaningful extent anyway. Of course, there are a few good exceptions. “60 Minutes” is not so bad. We always have “The Daily Show” and “Colbert Report” to fall back on. Some crazy percentage of people get their news from these Comedy Central shows. Jon Stewart still refuses to admit he is a news reporter of any kind. Is he embarrassed to be a part of that once proud profession? Has it gotten so bad that a stigma is now permanently attached to the field? Or do people just prefer comedy with their news? After all, a spoonful of sugar does make the medicine go down. Stewart and Colbert are masterful at that, and deserve their warehouse full of Emmys.

The two remaining examples of relevant mainstream news are essentially mirror images, now largely overlooked remaining bastions of a bygone era in which the everyman felt he could connect with the powers that be. “Meet the Press” and “Face the Nation” still make a half-ass attempt in their uniquely languid manner to give us access to the otherwise now impossible to reach governing gang populating our insular Capitol.

It’s an “economy of influence” in D.C. from Capitol Hill to K Street, as Lawrence Lessig has aptly pointed out in his eye-opening book, “Republic Lost.” Unless you are a funder, buzz off. These Congressmen are busy. There are fundraising calls to make and bills drafted by lobbyists to rubberstamp. All this takes time, you silly constituent. Will these programs confront Congressmen about this huge issue that puts their agenda at odds with the will of the people? Not much. Risk ruffling too many feathers and you lose access. Then viewers. Then advertisers. What a silly game journos play. Ask the right question and Obama might call on you. Helen Thomas may have been the sole exception, may she rest in peace.

Long gone are the days when Walter Cronkite’s trusted paternalistic voice was welcomed into millions of American homes over a hearty dinner after a good day’s work – eight hours, no more and no less. That is how I like to imagine it used to be anyway. A seemingly wonderful time when people were engaged politically, not jaded. A time when political issues were spoken of openly and enthusiastically, not in secret for fear of being politically incorrect. Or worse, Soviet era level paranoia about bringing increased scrutiny to yourself and your metadata, aka the government’s bio on you, penned and preserved somewhere in the cloud, and in greater detail than even David McCullough could aspire to, if rumors are true. It certainly was not an era where whistleblowers would be labeled as traitors almost reflexively and investigative journalists jailed and labeled the same for protecting their sources.

All these acronymic agencies are quite the researchers. Why can’t we research them just the same? Why can’t we at least know what they are doing without whistleblowers there to shed light? Why would the government so seemingly and blatantly treat the rule of law as mere dirt off its shoulders?

Transparency is the future. Technology has kind of dictated that. I can live with that. In fact, I support it, but only if it is transparency in the truest sense and goes both ways. I am no fan of one-sided mirrors. This is likely a growing pain in the transition towards complete transparency. It is becoming quickly clear that the government cannot fight this organic movement towards transparency. There are simply to many leaks that cannot be plugged. It is a losing proposition for governments in these alleged secret spying endeavors in the end.

I am not surprised one bit over alleged government spying on essentially all aspects of our lives, or at least having access to it at will, allegedly. But how can journalists hold them accountable when even Senators are kept in the dark and it is impossible to have Congressional oversight over the domestic spying allegations with the NSA and the FISA “court” that seemingly rubberstamps every single request without due process or potential for any meaningful adversarial proceeding?

Mainstream media is still at fault here. Notwithstanding a few great investigative journalists looking deeper into this like Glenn Greenwald at “The Guardian,” media is content to frame the issue as Snowden being a traitor to the country for bringing to light these important revelations. Is it far-fetched to think that the ways issues are framed are dictated from somewhere in Washington? I hear whispers, “Focus on Anthony Weiner. Don’t scare Americans. We have invested a lot of tax dollars into this since before 9/11. You need to call Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden traitors to the country, not whistleblowers. This must be dealt with. No mercy shall be given. Potential whistleblowers need to live in fear, always and forever. Isn’t Elliott Spitzer running for some office too? Focus on that.”

Funny thing is, I can understand that point of view to some degree if I was in the government and had spent a lot of time and effort for what I considered a good cause of stopping terrorism at all costs. However, that does not let the media off the hook. They are doing a disservice to every single person, domestic and international, who has fallen under the purview of the spying allegations, by failing to properly investigate this. The only thing mainstream media seems to be doing right is following those hypothetical whispers of directions.

I am close to writing an obituary for mainstream media as we know it. Good riddance, I say. Welcome aboard new bold reporting and in depth investigations in this age where the Internet has given us all tools to share information like never before and collaborate on an entirely different level. Mainstream media had its chance. Now people should support ventures like “Rise Morning Show,” a new weekday morning show that considers its primary job to dig deeper. Never back away, accept the status quo, or become a talking point pundit. Never be that guy who talks for a living, yet says nothing of substance. Be real and hold people, organizations, corporations, politicians, government accountable. The Fourth Estate is in dire shape. Rise aims to help restore it.

Now, more than ever, we need strong oversight over the three branches of government, as well as over corruption in the private sector as well. Rise has an Indiegogo campaign that ends today. See the link at bottom if you would like to learn more about the show and show some support. David Seaman, a popular podcaster and strong critic of the NDAA and NSA is the host. I am very happy to say that I am also involved as producer. Remember all that nonsense talk and failed promises about hope and change? Well, Rise is actually going to embrace those words and make them real.

Long gone is the time when we knew people like Woodward and Bernstein had our backs and the Washington Post had our best interests in mind. I am not even sure I can name an investigative journalist at WaPo anymore off the top of my head. WaPo’s second most popular article as I write this is entitled, “Buttocks injections killing, maiming some women who seek cheap alternative to plastic surgery.” In fairness, there also appears to be a good, yet concerning piece on the front page, “In Afghanistan, a second Guantanamo.”

A real concern here is mainstream media’s move towards “infotainment,” where TMZ-esque stories are commingled with issues that really matter and affect us all. Talented journalists and reporters are now spending valuable time and energy on what are essentially PR pieces because they pay more on a freelance basis, and general fluff journalism where titles and stories are worded not for good writing, but to appease Google’s search algorithm, written as dictated by Google and other search engines to have a chance of being on the first page of particular search results.

Everyone wants click-throughs and a piece of that advertising revenue. There is an entire industry around this. Of course you know of it – search engine optimization, or SEO. I even worked for an outfit for a week or two just to see how off the rails journalism had gotten. My assignments were to write seemingly informative articles. The truth was that the content did not matter, so long as it mentioned a list of keywords and three or four specific phrases or sentences, and seemed legit enough to at least fool Google into thinking it was a relevant article if those terms were searched. This is sickening and more reason why Rise and ventures like it are important in these weird times.

The public forum has largely disappeared, replaced by the Internet. Things could be worse when it comes to media, the once vaunted Fourth Estate, the watcher of the watchers. Technology has led to a huge media fragmentation. Sure, it is possible to find hard hitting, daring investigative journalism. The main problem is that people have to actively seek this out, often on dark corners of the Internet, where fact-checking becomes a necessary accompaniment to the reading. There is also the “echo chamber” problem, where people only visit sites that further validate their points of view. No matter Americans’ particular biases or partisan political views, I don’t think I am going out on any limb by saying there is a shared belief the state of American mainstream media is dismal.

All of this is concerning, but I can’t help but be optimistic. I think that many of these issues will simply be resolved in time through the continued evolution of technology. As far as mainstream media as we know it, well, it’s a dinosaur and the asteroid is near. Despite my comments about various failures of journalists to really cover issues like the allegations against the NSA, I hold high hope for the future. That is because regular people who are genuinely interested in covering relevant issues and investigating corruption and general wrongdoing are coming out of the woodwork, and will quickly commandeer the reins of the Fourth Estate. The Internet provides the tools. And good content always finds an audience.

“Rise Morning Show” is a prime example of this seismic shift in media. Say goodbye to talking point driven infotainment that never goes beyond surface level analysis. Say hello to investigative journalism by the people and for the people. Rise is a great example of a few motivated individuals coming together behind a lot of support from the public with the goal of covering relevant issues every weekday morning, and digging deeper through real investigative reporting. I am proud to say I am on the Rise team. I am prouder to say that Rise, unlike mainstream media, is accountable to no one except its viewers. Rise will be fearless and daring in its reporting, and try to be a major part of this seismic media shift, bring esteem back to journalism, and truly raise awareness on important issues in these strange times, and provide outlets for action where applicable. Today is the last day to show support for Rise through its Indiegogo public funding campaign. Information can be found here. And hey, if you can donate a few bucks, please do! Now is the last chance. – http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/david-seaman-los-angeles-morning-show

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  • kowalityjesus

    Anybody who was involved in campaigning for Ron Paul in the last presidential election realized what a shameless, dishonorable shill the MSM is in towing the line for the ensconsed 2-party system.

    • Jin The Ninja

      totally, because you know shilling for a republican is like totally subversive and like a giant f*CK you to ‘the man.’

      • kowalityjesus

        Like YOU will ever read this hahaha, but here’s a link to 5 pages of anecdotes involving the dirty and illegal ways that Ron Paul was disenfranchised by mainstream republicans. http://www.lewrockwell.com/2012/08/jaret-glenn/how-the-gop-establishment-stole-the-nomination-from-ronpaul/

        • Jin The Ninja

          a republican is a republican is a republican.
          there may be different shades of greyscale stupid, but it’s still stupid. when rp runs on the liberatarian ticket…oh wait, hold your breath…

          • kowalityjesus

            characterizing half of the effective political spectrum (I say effective because 3rd parties are woefully handicapped) as fundamentally the same no matter the flavor or disposition is akin in my eyes to sexism. It has never ceased to baffle me why anyone who calls themselves knowledgable and disestablishmentarian would not at least nod toward RP in light of how resented and bluntly censored he was. Yes he tows the party line, but only in the most dissenting fashion.

          • Jin The Ninja

            i shake my head at how he has established himself as the go-to libertarian within the republican party, which is about as close to nod as i can muster;).

            ‘sexism’ suggests oppression by an institutional power or inequitable division of power held by a ruling class exerted on a disenfrachised group. republicans are neither a minority view, a minority demographic, or disenfranchised, without legal recourse to power.
            the comparison is fraudulent and crass, but HILARIOUS.

            to say republicans and democrats are basically on the (same) right side of centrist with very few differences- is so obvious and apparent to my anti-establishment eyes it barely needs saying- and controlled by the same financiers and corporate masters- they are all ‘domestic servants’ sworn to the cause of empire and capitalism.

          • Hadrian999

            RP became what he thought people wanted, he became a libertarian contrarian within the party knowing he wasn’t going to change anything. It’s a show and nothing more, by taking part in the system of sham democracy he strengthens the legitimacy of the system.

          • kowalityjesus

            By honestly taking part in the sham democracy and exposing its deceit and contrivedness, he yanks back the curtain on Oz and throws more wood on the dying fire of liberty. We should all be thanking Ron Paul for making it obvious how dirty the unified party is in maintaining its monopoly. Only a 12-term congressman, veteran, MD, grandfather could have done it, God bless that man.

          • kowalityjesus

            Perhaps I did not make my analogy clear enough, although I would hate to spoil your amusement. I say “akin to sexism” because when you characterize half the political spectrum as ‘bad’ its like saying half of all humanity is ‘bad.’ You cannot make any arbitrary generalization about ‘all women’ or ‘all republicans’ that you want without being unjust.

            Did you know Snowden, the current celebrity antiestablishmentarian donated $500 to Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign? Here’s an article highlighting the different sources for 2012 primary candidates. http://www.ibtimes.com/ron-paul-newt-gingrich-mitt-romney-who-funds-them-213324

            I am die hard Ron Paul fan, even if not fundamentally libertarian. If one does not fight for the lesser of two evils, one can necessarily expect that the greater evil will prosper imo.

          • Jin The Ninja

            i call the ENTIRE system corrupt- republicans just visibly and virulently so- (democrats have a better marketing team).

            i am not making ‘generalizations’ about people without power, without privilege, without recourse to rebut- i stated/ echoed biting, literate observations about the american political system.

            evil is still evil, why vote evil at all?
            there really aren’t degrees of evil (what are we, freemasons?)- i don’t expect you to acknowledge ron paul’s strategy is one of populist co-option, but the reality suggests it is. you disenfranchise yourself by maintaing the system of 2-in-1 parties.

          • The Well Dressed Man

            Sometimes I wonder if those “degrees of evil” might be “real.” Like if I registered Republican, attended church, and joined the masons could I potentially do more good from within? The idealistic aspects of the Libertarian platform pushed by Paul Sr. were some of the most positive politics I’ve seen. Sadly, the parallel appeals to the dark side of the right were just too creepy.

          • Ted Heistman

            I think a lot of what we perceive as corruption are really impersonal forces, like efficiency.

            In a technological society efficiency is the highest value. Law enforcement is technological, for example, and so in seeking its highest efficiency it moves us closer and closer to a concentration camp. Complete and total surveillance, which treats everyone as a suspect is the most efficient law enforcement imaginable.

            None of this has anything to do with corruption as most people understand it. but there is some corruption on top of it.

          • kowalityjesus

            Anybody who consistently gets a hand shoved in their face from the coalition allied with the Fed and the MIBC has my fervent support, even if they are nominally in the same category.

            But the Well Dressed Man has a point, RP attracted a lot of the wrong people…whom I confronted and overshadowed during my support for his active campaign.

          • Jin The Ninja

            “anybody who consistently gets ahand shoved in their face from the coalition allied with the Fed and the MIBC has my fervent support, even if they are nominally in the same category. ”

            to me, that is completely illogical. not only because they aren’t simply NOMINALLY in the same category- they are the same categorically.

            i’m not saying his rhetoric isn’t good- it has its strengths. but lest us not be lemmings and follow false prophets into an elephant graveyard.

          • Ted Heistman

            I think you just viscerally don’t like Ron Paul. That’s what it looks like to me. I just viscerally don’t like Hillary. Obama doesn’t stir any strong emotions in me and neither did Bush. With these last two guys I just feel like the machine really comes into view because they are both obvious dupes.

          • Jin The Ninja

            i have no problem with RP, it’s the rhetoric of his minions i have a problem with. he’s not the libertarian messiah. and i’m saying that as a (left) libertarian.

            but i agree with you that when it comes to the last two presidents, there is certain amount of apathy involved, probably related to the former’s borderline retardation and the latter being a used car salesman.

          • Ted Heistman

            Yeah, Obama’s definately not retarded and may even have originally meant well, but I think he is pretty powerless but I think too he has bought into some authoritarian ideas. He’s a propagandist. He provides the spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down.

            I do like RP even though I don’t think all his ideas were workable, as far as his son goes he seems no different to me than say, Newt Gingrich

          • kowalityjesus

            that is a good synopsis of his son. I was talking to a MD my mom works with and he has been a Ron Paul fan. He said “If all the youth goes for Ron Paul then the elders will have to follow.” Which is sad that he thinks Ron Paul is still in politics, and he is also sadly right that if everyone who was not afraid of being disenfranchised by the hostile establishment went for Ron Paul then the entire party would have no choice but to embrace him, he was quite nearly to that point given the kind of public disenfranchisement and outright hostility he was shown. I the doc also said that Rand Paul exhibits the qualities that his father lacked, which I implicitly examined was not the type of thing you would want in a leader. His positive reviews are in light of his charactorial concessons to the conglomerate press. Thanks for your ascerbic synopsis of Jin the Ninja’s position, I share that viewpoint but gave up trying to win him over. I still wear a RP bumper sticker from 2008 and 2012.

          • Ted Heistman

            Well, visceral reactions count for a lot even if we don’t want to admit it. I don’t know what it would take to convince me that Hillary is a decent human being. And I didn’t like her evren before it was revealed that she’s a compulsive liar.

          • Ted Heistman

            I think he was definitely going against inertia. I think he had some actual values on a panel of talking heads. I think the talking heads are just filling their roles in a vast impersonal machine.

  • VaudeVillain

    “Jon Stewart still refuses to admit he is a news reporter of any kind. Is
    he embarrassed to be a part of that once proud profession?”

    That’s because he isn’t, and the fact that anyone can confuse him with one is an embarrassment to that once proud profession.

    • InfvoCuernos

      Its pretty clear that Jon Stewart spins for the left. Its about as factual as what fox does, but not as bad BECAUSE Jon Stewart doesn’t claim to be unbiased, whereas Fox says right in their commercials “fair and balanced”. In the media atmosphere today, you might as well get your news from an Ouija board.

      • rtb61

        This is where your left right paradigm, is caring and sharing on the left and greed and selfishness on the right or biologically speaking normal human beings on the left and psychopaths and narcissist on the right.

    • Mr Willow

      That’s a bit unfair.
      The fact is, Stewart and Colbert still report the news, still have interviews with congressmen, senators, and other government officials and still discuss very serious issues. Yes, they do so with a penchant for parody and sarcasm, but often that is what makes comedians more truthful than the brow furrowingly austere individuals that inhabit the other ‘news’ stations. After all, how many times has it been the case that a comedy show made you laugh because they expressed something fundamental about the human condition — whether that be political, social, economic, or religious — and not a humorous anecdote, slapstick, or play-on-words? The “funny because it’s true” factor of comedy is what elevated the likes of George Carlin and Bill Hicks (among many others).
      Two examples:
      1. When the senate voted down watered down gun legislation earlier in the year, John Oliver had various interviews with a gun lobbyist (Philip van Cleave), the former Prime Minister of Australia (John Howard), the former aid to Harry Reid (Jim Manley), the Former Premiere of Queensland (Rob Borbidge), and the former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia (Tim Fischer) in an attempt to compare Australia’s gun laws implemented in 1996 with the current climate in the US. The three part piece exposed complete and utter incompetence on the part of van Cleave, confirmed that Harry Reid (and presumably our other ‘representatives’) cares more about getting reëlected than he does about passing bills that helps society, and revealed that Australia’s gun laws did some good.
      2. Colbert’s entire process of registering a SuperPac. The thing took several months, over multiple, intermittent portions of his show, and offered as close to comprehensive explanations on how Pacs operate as I’ve seen on television, even bringing his lawyer on to confirm or provide lay-person translations of legal jargon on the matter, all the while sprinkling in examples on how they undermine our political process.
      (YouTube is your friend)
      Yes, there is the occasional fart joke, dip into vulgarity, or some other juvenile stunt, but most of the time what makes the shows funny is the ever present absurdity of politicians and the ludicrous lengths to which they’ll go to justify their positions. All they’re doing is pointing out the absurdity.

      • Howard Beale

        The Colbert piece on super pacs was very entertaining while informative, but it’s scary how many people mistake their shows for news sources and rely on them as such. They’re opinion pieces with a humorous slant and a clear left bias. Gun laws were created in this country to protect the citizens from tyranny of government and the UK and Australia have more total per capita violent crime than the US. Think the cops have a duty to protect and serve? Ask Joe Lozito about that or visit Detroit. Think it’s futile to resist? Ask yourself if that’s the right question, and also remember Viet Nam and Afghanistan. Stewart got my attention during the Bush years watching my country sell out to the “corporations are people with first amendment rights” fascist utopia we now live in. But he and Colbert are part of Viacom and selling you something with every word. Good luck Mr. Seaman. You have a very well sponsored and refined machine to go against. I think your bet case scenario is to be attacked like Michael Hastings. Forget an old car with no electronics, you need to live in a Faraday cage in a cave somewhere deeper than the reach of hellfire missiles or get Putin on speed dial and Snowdens address. OBomber doesn’t like investigative journalism.

        • Mr Willow

          I never said I agreed with Australia’s gun laws. I don’t entirely, but that’s an entirely separate debate for a different thread.

          I was merely pointing out that the people who watch Stewart and Colbert are technically exposed to the same news headlines as everybody else, and are sometimes (even often) provided with more information on any given subject than the big three news stations are willing to give. Whether or not that extra bit of information is provided for the sole purpose of garnering laughs is debatable, but ultimately irrelevant if the people exposed to that information consider its implications.

          The thing you have to remember about comedy is that on some basic level it requires the audience to think about what’s being said and consider alternate viewpoints. In relation to comedy associated with politics — that being satire — it can cause changes in any audience that is willing to consider why they’re laughing, even if that reason is to keep from crying.

        • Bruteloop

          False stats here because of the very different definitions of violent crime from one country to another. FBI Uniform Crime Reports define violent crime as only 4 specific offences whereas British Home Office definition is extensive. For instance all sexual assault (UK) rather than simply ‘forcible rape’ (US).

    • Virtually Yours

      This article delivers a brilliant takedown of both Stewart and Colbert: http://www.thebaffler.com/past/the_jokes_on_you

      • moremisinformation

        Thanks for the link. Pretty good article – except for alluding to the U.S. economy as, “the free market”.

    • THEUNSEENofNOTISH

      Agreed on that one. He operates in a more town crier/media watchdog capacity using satire to point out dangerous cultural and media misconceptions. His standup roots really come through in the likes of George Carlin, Bill Hicks and the new up and coming Lee Camp,potentially,, in my opinion.

  • HCE

    I’ve come to believe Woodward and Bernstein never had our backs.

  • THEUNSEENofNOTISH

    Some great points in the article, I’d just like to point out the delusion of a Walter Cronkite utopian media fantasy are as much hogwash and dangerous ontologically as the Reagan and New Right’s idea that the 50s was some sort of Leave it to Beaver White Picket Fence Middle America 2.5 Children and we’re all happy political party selling point. The diversity of media is actually EXCELLENT when you can handle and synthesize different perspectives into your own world view and have a grounded sense of what is actually going on in your local neighborhoods and community, where individuals have the greatest impact. Stories like this are why I love Disinfo!

    • kowalityjesus

      fuck yeah, though, dude