Unpresidented. The Media and How They’re Spun


I’m very excited about all the new activists that this election has inspired. I love looking at photos from the marches, hearing their stories and knowing about the in-person connections made. I look forward to hearing and reading about their future successes on social media.

I want to help these new activists by connecting them with experienced activists and experts I know who kick ass. We can learn from them.

When thinking about activist actions I always want to know, “What was done in the past that worked?

What has to be done to make it work now? How do we go about doing that in our current environment?  

Video of aliens flying over a wall and
attacking the White House by Dan Mcenroe

My friend Cliff Schecter is starting a new podcast called An Unpresidented Podcast, Bigly that will be addressing some of these issues, especially as it concerns the media. The GoFund me link is here.

“Many of us have lamented the lack of progressive media infrastructure. I’ve given my all to combating this by founding (and partially funding) an independent, progressive radio station in Washington DC and going on independent radio and tv. With the election of Donald Trump, I feel I must do more. So I’m starting this podcast to take our message to an even wider audience.”

 During the Bush years Cliff was one of the people who got on the MSM and kicked GOP’s spokespersons’ asses. It is great fun to watch him do this here.  I would love to see more examples of that, not only with GOP shills but with our lame media. Remember what fun it was to watch Lauren Duca  knock the smirk off  Tucker Carlson’s face?

Cliff has been on the Majority Report with Sam Seder on Friday for years and he has helped me to make sense of the what and the why of what’s happening in the political world. I also am interested in the who and the how.

Cliff and I have mutual friends that we advise in the fight to reduce gun violence. Our friends at Nebraskans Against Gun Violence just had a success today in their continued vocal, actions against a pro-guns everywhere Republican Senator Bill Kintner. Today he announced his resignation. “Nebraska lawmaker quits after tweet about Women’s March protesters sparks outrage”

We have another mutual connection, some guy in a show that also has Star in the title, Mark Hamill.

Some guy with a history of making Star-series who is a fan of Schecter’s work

Hamill got to know Cliff after learning about his work reducing gun violence.  He then invited Cliff and his boys to the set of an upcoming Star Wars movie. (I’m not jealous or anything because I’m a Vulcan.)

So you got your Hollywood Celebrity acknowledging Cliff’s work against evil.  Sweet. Cliff was even able to get some stuff signed by Hamill for early donors for the podcast. Hamill even made some of his great voice work available (love him on The Flash!) Now Cliff might get some more — either in a contest or a super big donation — It depends on the demand. Personally I don’t care for any Star things with “Wars” in the title, but that’s me. Apparently from listening to Chris Hardwick  talk to Mr. Hamill on the Nerdist is that people like Hamill actually enjoy collect Star-things. )

I love new people getting involved in activism, but one of my frustrations is watching the “neutral” MSM and experts dismiss movement successes along the way. I want to help people learn how to counter it.  The good news is that social media is kicking the media’s ass in multiple ways: distribution, engagement and speed. But the MSM TV media still exists and is very important to people in power. 

As insightful media writer Matt Zoller Seitz said in The Vulture TV Podcast

“A television monster inhabits the White House and he continues to be financially entangled with the medium that gave birth to his Presidential candidacy.”

“He [Trump] is Television. ”

@mattzollerseitz On Donald Trump

Seitz uses a quote from Trump’s speech to the CIA.

I get up this morning and I turn on one of the networks and they show an empty field. I say, ‘wait a minute I made a speech. The field was, it looked like a million, a million and a half people.”

It’s important to note he didn’t say which one. He talks about what he saw  and how it didn’t jibe with his view of the world.   Trump wants MSM TV news to reflect back to him his reality.  He craves it. When the media don’t give him what he wants he can either revise his reality (HA!), or demand the people giving the information change.  One thing we can learn from this is that if you know what media your audience cares about, and consumes, you can focus on them.

We need to be better at getting our people on the TV with solid messages.  We still have a mewling “both sides do it” press. Waiting for the MSM journalists to stand up to him is going to take time. I’ve written before about how understanding how the MSM process works helps get your message across.

Over the years I’ve taught 100’s of very powerful and now famous people to talk to the media and to very specific audiences. I start by asking them “What do you actually, read, watch and listen to?” (vs what they think they are supposed to)  The answers have changed over the years from “The Journal, the local newspapers and the “trade rags.” to “My Twitter feed.” I then ask them to name actual publications or people that they look at vs. “all of them” This information is critical to know if you want to know how to reach them where they actual engage.

What people need to understand is that powerful people are much more excited to see their name mentioned favorably in the media they and their peers watch, read or respect. They will say, “I want to be in the Journal, above the fold” ( For you young people, being in the top half of a folded paper was like being in the 10 ten search results on Google.) This is why Trump dismisses Fox News as a slam dunk, it’s not a challenge.

Media venues that are seen as a “slam dunk” are taken for granted. (Note to progressive activists, you actually have a better chance doing well in a venue like Fox than on MSNBC.)

One thing that people don’t understand is how the MSM news and cable shows use surrogates to help them say what they feel they can’t. So, for example, producers showing their intent by using weak experts on a topic. That is why you didn’t see articulate, combative peace experts on the Sunday morning talk shows in the run up to the war. When they want to seem “fair and balanced” networks go to celebrities as experts to address an issue so they can later dismiss them. This is why Janeane Garofolo was on TV talking against the war in 2003.

The right understands this. That is why they created categories of “experts” from “think tanks” like the Heritage Foundation. Did you know that there are have 12 full time PR people pushing their views? They have a high end studio for guests and provide ongoing media training for their staff, book authors and experts. It has had a huge pay off. The Heritage Foundation people are now calling the shots in thousands of positions in the government. And when the right doesn’t have a single “celebrity” on their side they dismiss “celebrity” as non-important.

Sometimes you see someone from the left do really great and say, “Why can’t we have more of her on TV!”  It’s a good question. Because the odds are that if we loved her she won’t be asked back.  There a number of reasons this happens, and it can be explained and addressed. We can’t change the journalists quickly, but we can change who their guests.  To get “more if that” on TV we have to constantly be training and preparing people who are in position to speak.

These are just some of the issues I talked to Cliff about and he said he will cover on the podcast. I’m looking forward to hearing it.

In my century we don’t have the same need for money yours does. We also didn’t have nation states and billionaires funding the Klingons, Romulans and the “Providers.”  I don’t want to be a thrall — and surrender. I don’t think you do either.

So I’m putting my Quatloos on the people who are going to fight now and the ones who have shown us how to effectively fight in the past.

GoFundMe UnPresidented Podcast link

Obamas and Bidens Walk Away from the White House


Photoshop from jerjozwik at Reddit

From Photoshop Battle discussion PsBattle: The Obamas and Bidens Walk Away from White House. Recommend on Facebook Tweet about it Email this!

Don’t Relax! 47 Hours Left Till Obama takes your guns!

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Weaseling Out of Things Is A Core Trump Skill

The media still hasn’t figured out how to deal with Trump and his weaseling skills.

They are using the, “If a democrat did this…” model. That one was blown out of the water early. But Trump has even surpassed the “It’s Okay When You Are Republican” model. And they are light years away from the “If a regular person did this”…” model. Normal, Democratic, Republican and Decent people norms haven’t been applying to Trump.  The media hasn’t adapted, but we need to.

Now I could coach the press on how to bust him, but they are too busy trying to figure out how to stop being humiliated daily.

In a recent Talking Points Memo Josh Marshall was telling the MSM to stop being crybabies about losing access. I saw how Bush treated the DC press like dirt and they ate it up. My friend Eric Boehlert’s great book Lapdogs was all about how the press rolled over for Bush.

If they do get kicked out of the press conferences they might start noticing how Trump has continued to play them. So most of them are beyond help, but that doesn’t mean that WE can’t do their job.

In the piece . . . → Read More: Weaseling Out of Things Is A Core Trump Skill

Damn it Dems. Make news on what repealing ObamaCare means!

I know the D.C. Democrats are busy running around trying to find their next job and tickets to concerts, but Christ on a crutch why isn’t anyone baiting Trump about his “repeal and replace” ObamaCare promise?

At least get some people out there who can tell us what a straight up repeal would mean and what’s going to happen next. Give us some scenarios like

my hero Wendell Potter did here.

Explain that what Americans faced before ObamaCare will come rushing back, the insurance industry abuses, the crummy coverage, the out of control prices.  That’s what repeal is. “But, but the law!” Well tell us exactly what can’t be done and what CAN be done.

The problem is that the media lets Trump and his spokespeople off the hook time and time again for not having a plan and how they are making promises they can’t keep.

Why are the democrats giving him more time? He has had over a year to come up with a replacement plan. Stop cutting him slack damn it! Every day they delay him prepare and lets the industry help him to the landing they want.

“But but he’s not even in office yet!” So . . . → Read More: Damn it Dems. Make news on what repealing ObamaCare means!

This is how we fight

There is a great scene in Trading Places where the good guys win, and the bad guys are defeated. This shows the results of fighting back. This is my idea of a perfect resolution to fighting leaders and funders of the right. I know it’s a fantasy, but there are real lessons to be learned from it. You want to fight the right? This is how we fight.

What makes this clip satisfying are four parts. 1) A comeuppance that REALLY hurts them. The Dukes lost status in the eyes of their peers, they lost all their monetary assets as well as their symbolic asset–their families’ inherited seat at the stock exchange. One brother loses his health with a heart attack.

2) The brothers turn on each other. Instead of figuring out how to game the system or keep their money, they attack each other. The Dukes could have had healing power of forgiveness and love of family, but that was also destroyed. 3) The rules set up by the Dukes were used against them. The Dukes created the rules to use against others and didn’t expect the rule to apply to themselves. 4) The people who defeated them . . . → Read More: This is how we fight

Who’s going to kick the right wing’s ass?

I had a discussion the other day with a woman who talked about her feelings about Hillary and the election. In the end she said some of the same things that I’ve heard before. “Wasn’t there something that would have preventing Trump from ever running?” and now, “Isn’t there something that won’t let him get into office?”

She also talked about how the media didn’t do their job BUT… Hillary has baggage, she’s isolated etc. etc. etc.

I stopped her and said, “Look, I know Joe Conason, the guy who wrote the book “The Hunting of the President.” and there is a reason that you think these things about her. It started with $2 million dollars spent by Richard Mellon Scaife and others on the Arkansas project in the 80s and has gone on for decades.

When you dread how they will come after Hillary, it’s because they instilled that dread in you. Hillary acts the way she does because of the constant attacks in the past and the anticipated ones in the future. Those Scaife/Mellon people won. They were successful in their strategy. I know that because of what you have just said.”

Photo by Evan P. Cordes, . . . → Read More: Who’s going to kick the right wing’s ass?

FAA Bars Media Drones Flying Over Pipeline Protests


From the Drone Law Journal November 27, 2016

The FAA has imposed a 4-nautical mile Temporary Flight Restriction, (“TFR”), in airspace up to 3500 feet above sea level, over the Standing Rock Protest in North Dakota. The land in that area sits approximately 1600 feet above sea level, meaning about 1900 feet of the sky above the protest is off limits to any aircraft other than those permitted to fly — namely, aircraft in support of the law enforcement activities.

Neither the mainstream media, nor citizen journalists, nor activist hobbyists may fly in that area to document what law enforcement is doing.

Why is there a TFR over Standing Rock? — Peter Sachs, Esq.

This action will prevent the media or activists from showing shocking footage of water cannons used to spray protesters.

Forbes journalist John Goglia has pointed out that “keeping the media from documenting law enforcement actions is not part of the FAA’s mission. Nor is it a legal basis for issuing flight restrictions.” Yet that is exactly what they did in Ferguson and it appears they are doing the same here.

I reached out to the FAA for more specific information on why the TFR . . . → Read More: FAA Bars Media Drones Flying Over Pipeline Protests

Our Pain, Moonves, Zucker, Mercer and Breitbart’s Profits

I’m pissed off at the news media, because I think they failed their duty to the truth. But that’s an old timey view of the news media. The metric for success in mainstream media is revenue for shareholders. Les Moonves is measured by how well he fulfilled his duty to shareholders.

Les Moonves, the chief executive of CBS, celebrated Donald Trump’s candidacy for the second time on Monday, calling it “good for us economically.” Moonves, speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference at the Park Hotel in San Francisco, described the “circus” of a presidential campaign and the flow of political advertising dollars, and stated that it “may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS, that’s all I got to say.”

“So what can I say? The money’s rolling in, this is fun,” Moonves continued, observing that the debates had attracted record audiences. February 29, 2016, — Lee Fang , The Intercept

What if generating money was taken out of the equation? What if you didn’t have to show shareholders you are making a profit, not even breaking even?

In the high-tech venture capital world people get money to realize an idea. They don’t have the instant demand to make . . . → Read More: Our Pain, Moonves, Zucker, Mercer and Breitbart’s Profits

Future History: The Steve Simels Redemption

From the 2019 short story “The Steve Simels Redemption”

(Sent from the future via Wormhole Extreme)

From Facebook November 17, 2016

And may I just say and for the record that I plan to be carrying Mace for the duration of the Trump administration? I have decided that I will not tolerate being subjected to hate speech and if the people I call on it get physical with me they’re going to get Maced.

I’m too fucking old to put up with this shit and I won’t.

Steve Simels

Dear Steve:

I would recommend against anything that involves a physical response. Be like smart small funny men everywhere. Think of a witty rejoinder.

Then, after you have made them laugh, get them on your side. Go to their homes, meet their wives or adult daughters. Learn about their lives, hobbies and income.

Next, when you have been friends for a year or so, get them to reveal their greatest fears and secrets. Then set up an investment program that they sell to all their friends.

At first make it look like they are making money so they get more friends to invest. Soon you are making millions.

When you have access to . . . → Read More: Future History: The Steve Simels Redemption