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With the Occupation surging through our society, more and more people are becoming aware of the emerging paradigm.   New millennium citizens must anticipate having new roles and responsibilities.

One of those new responsibilities must be becoming better critical thinkers.  We must build a new information stream that will serve us going forward as we discard the shoddy, myopic, agendized corporate media we have outgrown.

I used to love The Young Turks, which I saw as an independent, progressive, new-media source that did not pull its punches.  I looked forward to their new clips each day, went into the archives and watched old shows sometimes.  However certain editorial weak points became so abundantly clear, so chronic and extreme, that I had to completely withdraw my support.  Namely:

1.  Sexism – both in personnel practices and editorial content
2. Bad journalism – incorrect facts, failure to research
3. Sensationalism – $owing di$cord with fir$t re$ponder$ for rating$

The clip below is  a perfect example, three for three.   Failures detailed sequentially following the clip.

1.  Clip opens, Ana Kasparian: “Someone donated copies of O’Reilly’s books…”  O’Reilly said he’d be sending them, so signs point to his publishers.  Doesn’t seem that difficult a fact to check.  Do they not have a phone number for Fox? She goes on to say it was probably O’Reilly, but her statement is very muddled because none of them have thought this through at all.

In and of itself this is not a deadly sin, using 100 words when 10 will do.  However, it shows how little effort they put into journalistic integrity.  A good journalist would say, “O’Reilly’s producers could neither confirm nor deny,” or whatever.  They made no attempt.  They just don’t bother with facts if it will mean 5 minutes of internet searches and phone calls.  And that does need to be called out.

2. At 0:35 Cenk Uygur opines that burning a book is wrong, but using it as toilet paper is not.  Ideological consistency fail.  Kasparian catches this.  Jesus Godoy and Jayar Jackson confirm the fail.  Uygur still not convinced.

3.   At 1:45 Cenk Uygur:  “I wouldn’t burn the books, but throw them in the garbage.”   Fail on two points:  First, lack of research.  All trash is burned at the FOB.  So they did throw it in the garbage.

More importantly, it shows that Uygur has zero understanding of military life.  None of these people know any soldiers, that is obvious.  (They know one, Wes Clark, Jr., but apparently felt no need to consult him.  Lost his cell number?  Just don’t care?  I’m going with the latter.)

Everything is shared while downrange.  You only need to send one book, they’ll share it.  If you’re sending a case, go for variety, something for everyone.  None of these progressive populists have ever sent a care package.  Stupid and busted being all talk, no action both at the same time.  Had they ever walked the walk of support, they’d know that excess would have to be destroyed in this scenario.

4. At 2:50 Ana Kasparian:  “I don’t think that the troops really thought that far into it.”  This is projection, pure and simple.  Kasparian is the vanguard of critical thinking fail on The Young Turks, and has projected her lack of intellectual curiosity onto deployed military personnel.  It’s offensive.  She figures soldiers aren’t very bright, apparently.

I’ve known soldiers who were doctors, others who had degrees in chemistry and architecture, and spoke 3 or more languages.  Just because Kasparian doesn’t scratch too deep below the surface doesn’t mean military personnel don’t.

5.  At 2:55 Ana Kasparian:  “They’re just annoyed that they didn’t get porn.”

If Kasparian had ever had any real interaction with military people she would know that US personnel are not permitted to have items that offend host countries; in Moslem countries that means alcohol and porn.   The trend of “Robitrippin,” or taking enough cough medicine to get high, originated with US military personnel deployed in Moslem countries.  They used to be able to receive such things in care packages (until leadership caught on to this potentially fatal practice).

I have sent numerous care packages, and been advised they were not allowed to receive Maxim or even body building magazines showing shirtless men, much less porn.  They do occasionally receive porn care packages, but it’s situation-dependent and has to be supported by their leadership — not all of whom will take the same stance on this issue.  Porn care packages are the treasured exception, not the rule, especially in Afghanistan.

The original soldier’s statement would have cleared a lot of this up, had they bothered to read it, which they didn’t.  It’s not just a failure to research, it’s another example of The Young Turks’ pattern.  They use the lives of Americans in uniform to advance their egotistical agenda while completely excluding them in the discourse.

On that note, without further ado, the original statement from the actual soldier himself, which took less than 90 seconds to retrieve via the Googles. From the Hollywood Reporter:

“A Tumbler post dated Oct. 17 says 20 of the books were burned on command because they were not needed at the outpost. Everqueer writes, “
‘Some jerk sent us two boxes of this awful book (SPOILER ALERT: George Washington – Patriot; George Soros – Pinhead) instead of anything soldiers at a remote outpost in Afghanistan might need, like, say, food or soap.’

The soldier concludes, ‘Just burned the whole lot of them on my Commander’s orders.’”

And his clarification, post-media furor:

“I’ve read people’s squeamishness about setting books ablaze. I hear you. The motivation behind the order to burn them was not political. As mentioned in the original post, we are in an extraordinarily remote location. We don’t have a post office here, so sending them back wasn’t an option.

Extra space is scarce and alternatives that a few mentioned, like recycling, are nonexistent. All waste is burned on the base and in town; wood and paper goes in that barrel. I was getting rid of a bunch of cardboard boxes and the books were in the burn pile. There were 20 of them. I saved one for the bookshelf. I’m aware of the historical implications of book-burning. I won’t say I didn’t take pleasure in removing a few copies of this bigoted twerp’s writings from circulation, but the reason for doing so was military necessity.”

I note how much more articulate and clever this soldier is than Ms. Kasparian.

Since The Young Turks completely buried the lead, below is the lead in sound-byte format, broken down by someone from (who is apparently a decent sort, though a Duke fan):

“Narcissism: Sending copies of one’s own book to soldiers in a war zone instead of things those soldiers actually want or need.”

If The Young Turks gave a damn for a minute about military personnel — which they clearly don’t — they might put in the time and effort to put up a page where soldiers can request needed items or desired books and put their APO addresses, so viewers could support them effectively.

I send diaper wipes and Fluffernutter, usually.  That’s what my people asked for.  It’s always best to ask them, because the military is notorious for indiscriminate distribution.  For example, I knew a soldier in a Special Forces unit (all male) that received a toiletries care package with a case of tampons in it.  They used them for bullet wounds.  Meanwhile female soldiers in other units did without.  I don’t have any loved ones deployed at the moment, but I suspect Tenga products would be a crowd pleaser (no pun intended).

This is why we need to include others in the discourse.  Not doing so is a hallmark of the old paradigm; self-centered arrogance is a large part of what is sinking our ship.  The Young Turks is not a public-serving show, it’s a self-serving one, so they won’t do a care package liaison or any other support of deployed human beings.  They’re an old paradigm outlet waving an Occupation flag.

Lastly, it is ironic that Ana Kasparian is the one who mentions porn.  The question I continue to ask about her returns:  Would she have this job if she were homely and flat chested?  I will refrain from further comment here.

As our new paradigm world takes form, we need to learn to Occupy the Media.  We have to aggregate information and do our own critical thinking.  Having seen how limited TYT’s understanding of public safety and military issues are, I must take everything they say with a block of salt, including political and economic analysis — which I used to believe was their strong suit.

In this writer’s opinion, The Young Turks is no more a credible source of information than Fox and should not be considered friendly among new paradigm people, despite stated support for the Occupation.  Let’s take a “how credible is this reporting, and who is served by it?” approach to ALL media.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You used a lot of words in a worthless post. (3+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    cris0000, Thinking Fella, DisNoir36
    Hidden by:

    And are guilty in said post of everything you accuse The Young Turks of. Waste. of. Time.

  •  Oh, boy... (0+ / 0-)

    Cenk actually managed to articulate in the clip what he was trying to say, although he had to grasp for words a lot until he found the salient point: Burning books is very much a real-life metaphor for not being able to counter someones standpoint. It is one of the ultimate forms of censure, one which oppressive regimes and fundamentalists have used over and over in the past. So I perfectly understand why he felt uncomfortable with it happening to O'Reillys book.

    And, yeah, the point was lost on the rest of the TYT crew and it's almost 100% likely that the soldiers burned the books because it is part of garbage disposal procedure. But Cenk feeling uncomfortable with the concept of book burning and ( erroneously here ) applying it to this situation is understandable.

    But I think you are waaaay to vitriolic towards TYT. They are not an official news organization and they don't have to have every minuscule unimportant detail at their disposal ( at which most news organizations also fail, btw. ), like the, apparently to you very pertinent, question if the books were donated.

    The clip was much more of a fluff piece, which they do a lot of in their social hour. Their political hour, which is very seldomly attended by Ana, is much better researched.

    •  They'll have to minimize their reliance (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      on such "puff pieces" if they're going to last long at Current -- their new show starts later this month as Keith Olbermann's lead-in. Keith runs a tight ship and won't stand for too much bullshit.

      Now to try to end the wars we ask our gay and straight soldiers to fight. -- Chris Hayes (modified)

      by Cali Scribe on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 01:35:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I really hope so (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I would love to get several articles under Al Gore's nose.

        I started my blog basically because I was sick and tired of presenting TYT with polite, reasoned analyses of how they were harming first responders, and having my concerns dismissed out of hand by Cenk, even when his team clearly got what was wrong with the picture.

        The first time Cenk dismissed my feedback about his terrible reporting was Obion County.  My being a firefighter in real life gave me the crazy idea that I might understand the situation better than he did.  

        Someone on TYT's staff obviously gave him the Cliff Notes.  He dismissed that input with a literal flick of his fingers.  That was insult to injury.

        About two months ago Cenk did an inexcusable, clueless, obnoxiously sexist piece about a police officer that made the people on the crew obviously uncomfortable.  They apparently tried to put my blog under his nose.  

        The original piece was 500 words long, and Cenk couldn't be bothered to read it.  The contempt he put on the word "blogger" in his dismissal of my criticism was really something; like it was a turd in his mouth, some citizen with actual insight who dared to confront him with reality.

        The problem is, when I confronted this in the comments, many people assured me that the points I was raising were too important for Cenk to not have considered them before reporting.  I'm 100% he let multiple major red flags fly right past him, because bottom line, the story tickled his pickle so he was OK with it.

        Sexism is a very serious problem of his.

        I didn't get this angry the first time.  Nor the second, third, or fourth times.  It's a pattern, and it's a problem.

    •  Understood. And I agree to some extent (0+ / 0-)

      that we have to automatically red flag burning books at all.

      However, I strongly disagree about the acceptability of fluff pieces about serious topics, i.e., deployed military personnel in Afghanistan.  I don't care whether the books were donated.  I care that they didn't spend 90 seconds -- literally 90 seconds -- reading what the actual soldier had to say before reporting on him.

      They've done a number of seriously damaging, irresponsible "fluff" pieces about firefighters and police officers, which is how I went from a fan to a watchdog.  Their coverage of the Obion County and Alameda incidents were unforgivable, and Cenk was the main perpetrator in both cases.

      That said, once I saw the pattern of careless speech repeated over and over by Cenk, I have to question his overall credibility, even about things which he seemed to have good credibility on before, i.e., politics and economics.

      I agree that the mainstream media is a colossal failure as well, however many people seem to have caught on to that fact and turn to alternative sources -- i.e., TYT, for the "real deal," and I'd like to encourage critical thinking in general.

  •  Maybe I'm mistaken (0+ / 0-)

    But it seems you're putting an awful lot of energy into deconstructing a show you absolutely despise. It doesn't seem like this effort is a positive force in your life. The emotion you have put into this article is out of control and detracts from your intent.

  •  Is TYT frequently inconsistent? Yes. (0+ / 0-)

    On the other hand, I never interpreted them to be presenting themselves as serious news. As far as I'm concerned, they ran this story to give O'Reilly the raspberry, not to provide serious analysis.

    Many of their stories are like that, and that is why I watch them--to get a good laugh out of the situation. In fact, that's what brought me to TYT in the first place. There was a show a few years ago where Cenk was making fun of Sarah Palin to the point that I burst into laughter, and I've watched them ever since then. When I want serious news and insight, I go to Al Jazeera or euronews or When I want to laugh at conservatives, I go to TYT. If you consider that a downside for TYT, you may have been taking them too seriously.

    I'm not saying TYT is the crown jewel of media excellence (they're obviously not), but you are clearly holding them to a standard that there's absolutely no reason to hold them to. They're not positioning themselves as the next Cronkites. It's just a progressive web show.

    "A man doesn't save a century, or a civilization, but a militant party wedded to a principle can." - Adlai E. Stevenson

    by Zutroy on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 05:42:47 PM PDT

    •  That's what I used to like about them too. (0+ / 0-)

      But they covered one too many serious public safety stories badly, and I found it really harmful.  

      If they want to do fluff pieces, by all means have at it.  Just don't do fluff pieces that involve police officers, firefighters, paramedics, CPS caseworkers, or deployed military personnel.

      A couple of weeks ago Ana did a story about a porn shoot on a fire truck.  Not only was the story years old, again, she didn't research it.  Just being sensational on our dime.  I don't appreciate it.

      That's my beef.  People do take them seriously, and they need to pay attention.

      •  If people take them seriously, that's their own (0+ / 0-)

        problem. I can't say I sympathize with people who are let down by TYT. Sorry.

        "A man doesn't save a century, or a civilization, but a militant party wedded to a principle can." - Adlai E. Stevenson

        by Zutroy on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 06:13:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If it were as mindless and destructive (0+ / 0-)

          to your community as it is to mine, your mileage may vary.

          Are you aware that first responders do not have the same First Amendment rights other citizens enjoy?  So when some self-serving people take unfair shots at them for sensational ratings, why, they can't respond, rebut, or clarify.

          It sucks a lot.  

          •  You certainly can respond, and I certainly can be (0+ / 0-)

            indifferent. Forgive me. I know I'm a godawful person, but that's my take. To me, complaining about TYT being unsubstantive is analagous to getting obese from McDonalds and trying to sue them as a result. Many people may consider it a valid complaint, and many others see it as a case where you simply misread the bill of goods.

            I happen to be in the latter camp. Hate me if you want.

            "A man doesn't save a century, or a civilization, but a militant party wedded to a principle can." - Adlai E. Stevenson

            by Zutroy on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 06:26:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not complaining about "unsubstantive" (0+ / 0-)

              Let me ask you this.  If there were some media channel that misrepresented your family for their own enrichment, and did not care how unfair or damaging that was to your family -- who was not permitted to rebut -- would that be OK with you?

              Also, it's not really correct to say they're not seen as a legitimate news source.   They interview people like Glenn Greenwald, Michelle Goldberg, Naomi Prinz, George Lakoff, General Anthony Tata, and many others with serious and highbrow discussion points.

              If you don't care about their shitting on first responders, that's your prerogative.  I'm not OK with it.

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