Archive for ‘U.S. Media’

January 24, 2014

And Journalists Wonder Why Anarchists Don’t Trust Us to Be Fair

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Henry Rossof, pictured far left.

By Brendan Kiley of The Stranger:

A couple of hours ago, a King County Superior Court judge declined to press charges against a young man named Brendan McCormack who had been accused of vandalizing bank ATMs in the Capitol Hill area late last year.

August 28, 2013

Listen Up, Ladies: Here’s Everything Real Men Think Is Wrong With You

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By LINDY WEST of Jezebel:

I’ve been doing some scholarly research, and I noticed this thing that’s been really dragging society down for the past few millennia: it’s that everything is wrong with you. You are gross. First of all, your hair is gross, because it is not long and thick enough. But don’t strap fake hair to your head! That’s also gross! Also, what the fuck is up with your skin? It is so dry and scaly like a lizard (but not one of those sexy lizards)! Except uuuuuuugh, do you have to take so longputting on your idiotic woman-lotion? This penis isn’t going to fondle itself! CHOP CHOP. Now, I know all this contradictory minutiae regarding your attractiveness can get confusing (especially with your lipstick-encrusted walnut brains!), but luckily, plenty of guys are generous enough to explain what they don’t like about you in great detail. Over and over. You’re welcome.

July 9, 2013

The generation we love to dump on [A Comic Strip by Matt Bors]

“Those of us who were born between 1980 and 2000 are not nearly as God-awful as the writers who constantly profile our tech-addled, be-hipstered people would have you believe…”

A comic strip by Matt Bors:

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March 18, 2013

On Rape, Cages, and the Steubenville Verdict

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by Mia McKenzie of Black Girl Dangerous:

Today, the two 16-year-old football players who were accused of raping a 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio were found guilty. The boys’ emotional reactions to the verdict, including crying in court, led several different CNN personalities to lament that their young lives have been ruined. That’s right. With no mention of the rape victim and how her life has been affected by being raped (and having the assault photographed and videotaped and tweeted about by the people who watched it all happening and did nothing), CNN went all boo-hoo for the boys who did it.

January 3, 2012

Rumsfeld-Era Propaganda Program Whitewashed by Pentagon

Originally published on TruthOut, by Cyril Mychalejko.

A controversial public relations program run by former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s Pentagon was cleared of any wrong-doing by the agency’s inspector general in a report published last month. The program used dozens of retired military officers working as analysts on television and radio networks as “surrogates” armed by the Pentagon with “the facts” in order to educate the public about the Department of Defense’s operations and agenda.

At the same time, the report quoted participating analysts who believed that bullet points provided by Rumsfeld’s staff advanced a “political agenda,” that the program’s intent “…was to move everyone’s mouth on TV as a sock puppet” and that the program was “…a white-level psyop [psychological operations] program to the American people.” It also found a “preponderance of evidence” that one analyst was dismissed from the program for being critical of former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, while another analysts said a CNN official told him he was being dropped at the request of the White House.

July 30, 2011

17,000 “Islamic terrorist” attacks exist in fevered Islamophobic brains

by Sheila Musaji:

Robert Spencer objects to an MSNBC News Report by Michael Isikoff which discussed an increase in right-wing attacks over the past several years.  Spencer claims In this one, Isikoff claims that there has been a “surge” of “right wing attacks” in the last couple of years—since Obama has been president (racism implication noted). This is sheer Leftist fantasy; meanwhile, Isikoff and NBC completely ignore the very real and readily documented surge in jihad plots in the U.S. over the last two years.

February 14, 2011

The leaked campaign to attack WikiLeaks and its supporters

Reposted from Salon.com – written by Glenn Greenwald

There’s a very strange episode being widely discussed the past couple of days involving numerous parties, including me, that I now want to comment on.  The story, first reported by The Tech Herald, has been written about in numerous places (see Marcy Wheeler, Forbes, The Huffington Post, BoingBoing, Matt Yglesias, Reason, Tech Dirt, and others), so I’ll provide just the summary.

Last week, Aaron Barr, a top executive at computer security firm HB Gary Federal, boasted to the Financial Times that his firm had infiltrated and begun to expose Anonymous, the group of pro-WikiLeaks hackers that had launched cyber attacks on companies terminating services to the whistleblowing site (such as Paypal, MasterCard, Visa, Amazon and others).  In retaliation, Anonymous hacked into the email accounts of HB Gary, published 50,000 of their emails online, and also hacked Barr’s Twitter and other online accounts.

Among the emails that were published was a report prepared by HB Gary — in conjunction with several other top online security firms, including Palantir Technologies — on how to destroy WikiLeaks.  The emails indicated the report was part of a proposal to be submitted to Bank of America through its outside law firm, Hunton & Williams.  News reports have indicated that WikiLeaks is planning to publish highly incriminating documents showing possible corruption and fraud at that bank, and The New York Times detailed last month how seriously top bank officials are taking that threat.  The NYT article described that the bank’s “counterespionage work” against WikiLeaks entailed constant briefings for top executives on the whistleblowing site, along with the hiring of “several top law firms” and Booz Allen (the long-time firm of former Bush DNI Adm. Michael McConnell and numerous other top intelligence and defense officials).  The report prepared by these firms was designed to be part of the Bank of America’s highly funded anti-WikiLeaks campaign.

The leaked report suggested numerous ways to destroy WikiLeaks, some of them likely illegal — including planting fake documents with the group and then attacking them when published; “creat[ing] concern over the security” of the site; “cyber attacks against the infrastructure to get data on document submitters”; and a “media campaign to push the radical and reckless nature of wikileaks activities.”  Many of those proposals were also featured prongs of a secret 2008 Pentagon plan to destroy WikiLeaks.

One section of the leaked report focused on attacking WikiLeaks’ supporters and it featured a discussion of me.  A graph purporting to be an “organizational chart” identified several other targets, including former New York Times reporter Jennifer 8 Lee, Guardian reporter James Ball, and Manning supporter David House.  The report claimed I was “critical” to WikiLeaks’ public support after its website was removed by Amazon and that “it is this level of support that needs to be disrupted”; absurdly speculated that “without the support of people like Glenn, WikiLeaks would fold”; and darkly suggested that “these are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause.”  As The Tech Herald noted, “earlier drafts of the proposal and an email from Aaron Barr used the word ‘attacked’ over ‘disrupted’ when discussing the level of support.”

In the wake of the ensuing controversy caused by publication of these documents, the co-founder and CEO of Palantir Tech, Alex Karp, has now issued a statement stating that he “directed the company to sever any and all contacts with HB Gary.”  The full statement — which can be read here — also includes this sentence:  “personally and on behalf of the entire company, I want to publicly apologize to progressive organizations in general, and Mr. Greenwald in particular, for any involvement that we may have had in these matters.”  Palantir has also contacted me by email to arrange for Dr. Karp to call me to personally convey the apology.  My primary interest is in knowing whether Bank of America retained these firms to execute this proposal and if any steps were taken to do so; if Karp’s apology is genuine, that information ought to be forthcoming (as I was finishing writing this, Karp called me, seemed sincere enough in his apology, vowed that any Palantir employees involved in this would be dealt with the way they dealt with HB Gary, and commendably committed to telling me by the end of the week whether Bank of America or Hunton & Williams actually retained these firms to carry out this proposal).

* * * * *

My initial reaction to all of this was to scoff at its absurdity.  Not being familiar with the private-sector world of internet security, I hadn’t heard of these firms before and, based on the quality of the proposal, assumed they were just some self-promoting, fly-by-night entities of little significance.  Moreover, for the reasons I detailed in my interview with The Tech Herald — and for reasons Digby elaborated on here — the very notion that I could be forced to choose “professional preservation over cause” is ludicrous on multiple levels.  Obviously, I wouldn’t have spent the last year vehemently supporting WikiLeaks — to say nothing of aggressively criticizing virtually every large media outlet and many of their leading stars, as well as the most beloved political leaders of both parties — if I were willing to choose “career preservation over cause.”

But after learning a lot more over the last couple of days, I now take this more seriously — not in terms of my involvement but the broader implications this story highlights.  For one thing, it turns out that the firms involved here are large, legitimate and serious, and do substantial amounts of work for both the U.S. Government and the nation’s largest private corporations (as but one example, see this email from a Stanford computer science student about Palantir).  Moreover, these kinds of smear campaigns are far from unusual; in other leaked HB Gary emails, ThinkProgress discovered that similar proposals were prepared for the Chamber of Commerce to attack progressive groups and other activists (including ThinkProgress).  And perhaps most disturbing of all, Hunton & Williams was recommended to Bank of America’s General Counsel by the Justice Department — meaning the U.S. Government is aiding Bank of America in its defense against/attacks on WikiLeaks.

That’s why this should be taken seriously, despite how ignorant, trite and laughably shallow is the specific leaked anti-WikiLeaks proposal.  As creepy and odious as this is, there’s nothing unusual about these kinds of smear campaigns.   The only unusual aspect here is that we happened to learn about it this time because of Anonymous’ hacking.  That a similar scheme was quickly discovered by ThinkProgress demonstrates how common this behavior is.  The very idea of trying to threaten the careers of journalists and activists to punish and deter their advocacy is self-evidently pernicious; that it’s being so freely and casually proposed to groups as powerful as the Bank of America, the Chamber of Commerce, and the DOJ-recommended Hunton & Williams demonstrates how common this is.  These highly experienced firms included such proposals because they assumed those deep-pocket organizations would approve and it would make their hiring more likely.

But the real issue highlighted by this episode is just how lawless and unrestrained is the unified axis of government and corporate power.  I’ve written many times about this issue — the full-scale merger between public and private spheres —  because it’s easily one of the most critical yet under-discussed political topics.  Especially (though by no means only) in the worlds of the Surveillance and National Security State, the powers of the state have become largely privatized.  There is very little separation between government power and corporate power.   Those who wield the latter intrinsically wield the former.  The revolving door between the highest levels of government and corporate offices rotates so fast and continuously that it has basically flown off its track and no longer provides even the minimal barrier it once did.  It’s not merely that corporate power is unrestrained; it’s worse than that:  corporations actively exploit the power of the state to further entrench and enhance their power.

That’s what this anti-WikiLeaks campaign is generally:  it’s a concerted, unified effort between government and the most powerful entities in the private sector (Bank of America is the largest bank in the nation).  The firms the Bank has hired (such as Booz Allen) are suffused with the highest level former defense and intelligence officials, while these other outside firms (including Hunton & Williams and Palantir) are extremely well-connected to the U.S. Government.  The U.S. Government’s obsession with destroying WikiLeaks has been well-documented.  And because the U.S. Government is free to break the law without any constraints, oversight or accountability, so, too, are its “private partners” able to act lawlessly.  That was the lesson of the Congressional vesting of full retroactive immunity in lawbreaking telecoms, of the refusal to prosecute any of the important Wall Street criminals who caused the 2008 financial crisis, and of the instinctive efforts of the political class to protect defrauding mortgage banks.

The exemption from the rule of law has been fully transferred from the highest level political elites to their counterparts in the private sector.  “Law” is something used to restrain ordinary Americans and especially those who oppose this consortium of government and corporate power, but it manifestly does not apply to restrain these elites.  Just consider one amazing example illustrating how this works.

After Anonymous imposed some very minimal cyber disruptions on Paypal, Master Card and Amazon, the DOJ flamboyantly vowed to arrest the culprits, and several individuals were just arrested as part of those attacks.  But weeks earlier, a far more damaging and serious cyber-attack was launched at WikiLeaks, knocking them offline.  Those attacks were sophisticated and dangerous.  Whoever did that was quite likely part of either a government agency or a large private entity acting at its behest.  Yet the DOJ has never announced any investigation into those attacks or vowed to apprehend the culprits, and it’s impossible to imagine that ever happening.

Why?  Because crimes carried out that serve the Government’s agenda and target its opponents are permitted and even encouraged; cyber-attacks are “crimes” only when undertaken by those whom the Government dislikes, but are perfectly permissible when the Government itself or those with a sympathetic agenda unleash them.  Whoever launched those cyber attacks at WikiLeaks (whether government or private actors) had no more legal right to do so than Anonymous, but only the latter will be prosecuted.

That’s the same dynamic that causes the Obama administration to be obsessed with prosecuting WikiLeaks but not The New York Times or Bob Woodward, even though the latter have published far more sensitive government secrets; WikiLeaks is adverse to the government while the NYT and Woodward aren’t, and thus “law” applies to punish only the former.  The same mindset drives the Government to shield high-level political officials who commit the most serious crimes, while relentlessly pursuing whistle-blowers who expose their wrongdoing.  Those with proximity to government power and who serve and/or control it are free from the constraints of law; those who threaten or subvert it have the full weight of law come crashing down upon them.

* * * * *

What is set forth in these proposals for Bank of America quite possibly constitutes serious crimes.  Manufacturing and submitting fake documents with the intent they be published likely constitutes forgery and fraud.  Threatening the careers of journalists and activists in order to force them to be silent is possibly extortion and, depending on the specific means to be used, constitutes other crimes as well.  Attacking WikiLeaks’ computer infrastructure in an attempt to compromise their sources undoubtedly violates numerous cyber laws.

Yet these firms had no compunction about proposing such measures to Bank of America and Hunton & Williams, and even writing them down.   What accounts for that brazen disregard of risk?  In this world, law does not exist as a constraint.  It’s impossible to imagine the DOJ ever, ever prosecuting a huge entity like Bank of America for doing something like waging war against WikiLeaks and its supporters.  These massive corporations and the firms that serve them have no fear of law or government because they control each.  That’s why they so freely plot to target those who oppose them in any way.  They not only have massive resources to devote to such attacks, but the ability to act without limits.  John Cole put it this way:

One thing that even the dim bulbs in the media should understand by now is that there is in fact a class war going on, and it is the rich and powerful who are waging it. Anyone who does anything that empowers the little people or that threatens the wealth and power of the plutocracy must be destroyed. There is a reason for these clowns going after Think Progress and unions, just like there is a reason they are targeting Wikileaks and Glenn Greenwald, Planned Parenthood, and Acorn. . . .

You have to understand the mindset- they are playing for keeps. The vast majority of the wealth isn’t enough. They want it all.  Anything that gets in their way must be destroyed. . . . And they are well financed, have a strong infrastructure, a sympathetic media, and entire organizations dedicated to running cover for them . . . .

I don’t even know why we bother to hold elections any more, to be honest, the game is so rigged. We’re a banana republic, and it is just a matter of time before we descend into necklacing and other tribal bullshit.

There are supposed to be institutions which limit what can be done in pursuit of those private-sector goals.  They’re called “government” and “law.”  But those institutions are so annexed by the most powerful private-sector elites, and so corrupted by the public officials who run them, that nobody — least of all those elites — has any expectation that they will limit anything.  To the contrary, the full force of government and law will be unleashed against anyone who undermines Bank of America and Wall Street executives and telecoms and government and the like (such as WikiLeaks and supporters), and will be further exploited to advance the interests of those entities, but will never be used to constrain what they do.  These firms vying for Bank of America’s anti-WikiLeaks business know all of this full well, which is why they concluded that proposing such pernicious and possibly illegal attacks would be deemed not just acceptable but commendable.

UPDATE:  Several new items to note:  (1) Salon‘s Editor-in-Chief, Kerry Lauerman, has an excellent response to all of this on behalf of Salon(2) The CEO and COO of Berico — the third company whose name appears on the report (along with Palantir and HB Gary) — has now issued a statement [link fixed] condemning the proposal as “reprehensible” and also severed all ties with HB Gary; and (3) Bank of America has issued a carefully worded statement to USA Today, denying that they ever saw or have any interest in the proposal and claiming they never hired HB Gary to do this work (though they don’t say whether they hired Berico or Palantir, the firms that were coordinating the proposal, to do similar work, nor whether Hunton & Williams did); I’ll look forward to hearing from Palantir’s CEO, as promised, on those questions.

UPDATE II:  The New York Times this morning has a fairly thorough account of this matter that is worth reading.  While Bank of America continues to deny involvement in these proposals, its law firm, Hunton & Williams — one of the most well-connected law firms in Washington — refuses to comment, and that firm appears to be a key link in all of these efforts.

December 30, 2010

Wikileaks’ “Afghan War Diary” as Litmus Test for Media Bias

Reposted from tiresiasspeaks:

On July 25th the organization known as WikiLeaks, a confidential resource for whistleblowers who wish to release secrets to the public,  released tens of thousands of classified documents pertaining to the war in Afghanistan. The Afghan War Diary, as it is called provides an unfiltered look at the war in Afghanistan as told by coalition forces on the ground. Not surprisingly, these documents paint a somewhat different picture of the war than what the American public is used to hearing from American journalists and politicians. According to an interview WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange had with Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman, the documents (some of which have not yet been released by WikiLeaks) even reveal dozens of potential US war crimes against innocent civilians. At a minimum The Afghan War Diary reveals numerous civilian deaths, problems with unmanned drones, Pakistan’s possible support of the Taliban, and the corruption and unreliability of Afghan government officials as well as military and police forces.  However,  what is perhaps more revealing than the leak itself, is the opportunity it has provided to gauge media bias.

WikiLeaks did an interesting thing when they decided to release The Afghan War Diary- before going entirely public with the leak they gave three major newspapers a sneak preview: The New York Times in the US, The Guardian in the United Kingdom, and Der Spiegel in Germany. All three papers received the WikiLeaks documents three days before they went up on the WikiLeaks webpage and agreed not to publish anything about them until WikiLeaks’ official release date on July 25th. Two days later Eric Johnson broke a fascinating story in the Huffington Post about how differently The New York Times and The Guardian had covered the leak. In essence, he found that the two papers ran entirely different stories about the same exact material.

Johnson relied on a method called content analysis when comparing the two papers. This method involves both recording the number of instances a certain word or phrase appears in an article as well as determining the broader intention of the text. However, the simple truth is you don’t need a scientific approach to realize the vast differences between the two stories. It’s obvious. All you have to do is look at the most prominent article in The Guardian with the headline, “Afghanistan war logs: Secret CIA paramilitaries’ role in civilian deaths” versus the most prominent article in The New York Times with the headline, “Pakistan Spy Service Aids Insurgents, Reports Assert.” The difference between the two papers’ coverage of the leak is plain to see: The Guardian focused on civilian casualties and The New York Times focused on the connection between Pakistan and the Taliban. For an interesting example from Johnson’s article:

“Of the twenty times the word “civilian” is used in The Times only nine uses are in reference to casualties resulting from combat operations (four of these are clustered in a single section midway down the page and two were at the hands of Afghan soldiers or police). The Guardian‘s coverage used the word “civilian” 41 times in their primary coverage and 37 of these uses referred specifically to civilian casualties (two cases occurred in each newspaper concerning hypothetical casualties and these have not been included). The difference between The Times and The Guardian is dramatic and represents a ratio of 2:1.”

Johnson goes on to explain that after he factored in the differences in word count between the two articles it became apparent that The New York Times had actually focused seven times less attention on civilian casualties than The Guardian. So, why is there such a discrepancy in the coverage?

Johnson writes that the fact that The New York Times chose not to emphasize civilian casualties, “suggests a political motive to avoid discussing the human impact of the war. This is consistent with the hypothesis that a close association between journalists and American political, economic, and military officials would influence reporters in the direction of those same officials.” In other words, this sort of bias is the inevitable result of journalists and editors constantly rubbing shoulders with (as well as needing to maintain access to) the very politicians they are theroretically supposed to be holding accountable.The New York Times’ own Note to Readers on July 25th reaffirms this hypothesis in that it reveals that the paper’s editors spoke with White House officials prior to making a decision regarding what they would publish.  This sort of voluntary censorship coupled with an article that almost completely omits what many believe to be the primary significance of The Afghan War Diary is disturbing to say the least. It would seem that the United State’s most prestigious newspaper is doing US government officials a favor by trying to garner public support for an increasingly unpopular war.

None of this is to say that The Guardian is a more honest paper. The fact of the matter is that if The Guardian were addressing an issue as central to British politics as the Afghanistan war is to politics in the United States you could probably expect a similar result. While it focused much more on the civilian casualties in Afghanistan, even The Guardian’s story dramatically underestimated the number of civilian deaths revealed in the documents. To quote Johnson again:

“In The Guardian‘s article entitled “Logs Reveal Grim Toll on Civilians” they state that the documents show “144 entries in the logs recording…hundreds of casualties.” However, this was only in the so-called “blue on white” events (those cases where US and NATO forces acknowledged firing on civilians). Further analysis of the data show that these are only a small percentage of the overall impact on the Afghan population. In the category labeled High Severity there are 1,539 pages including 50 military reports on each page. A search for CIV KIA (military code for civilians killed in action) among the first 5,000 reports brings a total of 796 hits. In other words, an average of one in six reports contains evidence of a civilian death, and most involve more than one.”

All of this demonstrates the incredible importance of what Julain Assange and WikiLeaks are doing. By releasing actual reports detailing what the war is really like as told by actual reports from coalition forces the American public is empowered to ask not only, why is the war in Afghanistan being spun to us? But also, who’s doing the spinning?

March 19, 2010

Fact Checking Glenn Beck

Millionaire Glenn Beck has drawn a lot of attention for himself over the past few years.

Since his humble beginning as a radio jockey in Bellingham, Wash., Beck has risen to prominence within the conservative movement as a T.V commentator extraordinaire.

His show attracts millions of viewers across the country, and he uses it as a springboard to promote causes with which he is affiliated – mostly he advocates less taxation and more power for corporate America.

But his fame isn’t solely built on his political platform. His popularity is also partly due to many of  his extremely controversial remarks.

Amongst the highlights are his telling an audience that it took him “about a year to start hating the 9/11 victims’ families,” and the question “[are] we as dumb as Nigerians?”

He also delighted in informing his audience that all illegal immigrants were either “terrorists,” “escaping the law,” or “couldn’t make a living in their own dirt bag country.”

Clearly, the above statements don’t need fact checking. But below, we will discuss more nuanced attacks Beck has launched against us working people, specifically at our unions:

1. Beck and guest discuss “right to work”:


Beck begins this video by telling his audience that “[our] country is changing fundamentally, and it is changing overnight. Progressives and their friends in the government can’t get enough of the unions…”

Right off the bat, Beck is clearly trying to scare his viewers with two implications:

1. Unions are a new (and thus terrifying) phenomenon in America, and 2. that they are fundamentally changing the country.

Of course, unions have been a part of Americans’ lives for nearly 200 years. And the idea that unions are influencing the country anymore today than they have ever done before is absurd on its face.

Unions at one time encompassed 34.8% of the American workforce – today they represent only 12.3%. Whats more, the level of strike activity in this country is at an all time low. In short, the belief that unions are taking the country in any sort of radical direction is baseless.

Continuing his barrage of union disinformation, Beck has brought onto his show Tim Phillips, President of Americans for Prosperity, a global warming denying, right-wing front group  funded by Koch Industries.

Phillips first attack began quickly:

“When you look at the numbers, states that are non-unionized, where people have the freedom to choose whether to join a union or not, that’s where prosperity is, and that’s where job growth is… where people have a chance to choose whether or not to join a union, over being forced or coerced into joining a union, prosperity results.”

Phillips here is making the argument that “right to work” states, or states that have made it illegal for unions to negotiate a union shop with employers, are more prosperous than “forced union” states.

He backs this up with a few strange statistics.

First, he pulls up a graph comparing the average job growth of all right to work states to the average job growth of all other states between 1990 and 2006. The graph shows that the average job growth in the average “forced union state” was only 17.2%, and that the average job growth in the average right to work state was a prosperous 39.7%.

It’s a clever graph. It disguises an extremely questionable economic opinion as a fact, and implies that making closed union shops illegal will singlehandedly increase job growth.

But there are many economic policies which will determine the rate of job growth, perhaps least of which is whether or not workers can negotiate a closed shop with their employer.

Amongst these policies are corporate tax rates, corporate subsidies, minimum wages, environmental policies, and many, many issues relating to the infrastructure of different states.

To boil all of these down to one, single issue – closed union shops – especially at a time when union membership in the private sector is at a record low, is just a flat-out distortion.

Next, Phillips makes the incredible claim that people are “voting with their feet,” and migrating to right to work states to avoid unions.

But again, the reasons people migrate are diverse and many, and to imply that the only reason people are migrating to “free states” is to escape unions, without sighting any survey to back up his claim, is more than misleading.

2. Beck defends his fellow millionaires:

In the next video, Beck rushes to the defense of rich Americans, making the ridiculous claim that the top 1% of Americans pay almost 40% of all taxes! Take a look for yourself:

Of course, we all know the top 1% of Americans do not pay 40% of our national budget, as Beck claims. They don’t pay for anything near that. They actually only pay around 37% of income taxes, which in turn only makes up about 45% of our total national revenue.

Next, Beck claims that the bottom 50% of Americans pay for only 3% of our national budget. This, again, is absurd. The bottom 50% of American families pay 3% of the income tax, but not 3% of the national budget.

In an attempt to mislead his viewers, Glenn has intentionally left out the other 55% of tax revenue the U.S. government takes in. Most importantly, he leaves out payroll taxes, which account for much more revenue from the bottom 50% of Americans; Three fourths of American taxpayers, as it turns out, pay more in payroll taxes than they do in income taxes.

For those who don’t know, payroll taxes in the U.S. are taxes employers must with-hold from their workers. The money is then collected for federal income tax, Social Security and Medicare.

Workers pay the tax with a fixed 6.2% and 1.45% of their gross compensation. The taxes pay for Social Security and Medicare, respectively.

The employer also has to pay an additional 6.4% and 1.45% tax, but most economists agree that employers simply reduce wages to compensate for the payments, meaning the worker is taking on the burden of the full tax in the end.

Final Thoughts:

Glenn Beck is liar. Whats more, he’s a rich liar who hates working people who stand up for themselves. He will make up whatever he has to in order to sabotage us and protect his own class.

But Glenn Beck isn’t the problem. FOX News, and most major media outlets in the U.S. share a bias against working class organizations. And that’s to be expected. Reporters and journalists for big media outlets, for the most part, share the same ideology as the politicians and CEO’s they report on.

It’s a seldom acknowledged fact, but a fact nonetheless, that the U.S. media system is dominated by pro-capitalist journalists, much in the same way the Soviet Union’s press was dominated by communists. Where Russia’s government only allowed communist reporters, U.S. media companies only hire capitalist journalists.

Of course, we never talk about it, but that bias affects reporting. It affects the stories they follow, the commentary they offer, and time they invest in reporting. As with most institutions in America, workers don’t get a fair shake in the news.

For more information on fairness in the media, check out media matters, or any of the links under “News Sources” on the right side of this page.

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