Why is a journalist on a sexual-identity “power” list?

Some people still subscribe to newspapers in the hope of providing themselves with basic information on the current events of the day.  And once upon a time, newspapers did just that.  Older journalists worked very hard to keep their personal opinions, emotions, feelings, and biases away from their job of reporting the news. 

Not anymore.  Now newspaper reporters publicly celebrate their biases – flaunt them – and, as a result, journalism as a career is on life support. 

Readers today expect reportage to be grossly untrue and biased and they are guided accordingly.  More and more, newspapers bore voters.  Most voters can tell you today how the newspapers will report on each and every debate next year between Donald Trump and whoever the Democrat candidate is.  You could place a bet on it if anyone would take a bet on it but nobody will because everybody knows.  So very predictable.

What happened to intellectual curiosity?  Back during the day before yesterday, a reporter approached a story with an open, interested mind – excited by the prospects of where the story might take it.  Not today.  Now it is “time to make the donuts” – the work of drudgery – a fine cabinetmaker reduced to nailing together crates.  Reporters have everything arranged in advance.  The story is written before they write it.  There are those with the white hats and them with the black – with 95 percent of the story slanted against the designated “baddies” and praising the “goodies” – and 5 percent reserved for a “response” from the “baddies” (which, in the course of a conversation with the reporter, is often turned into the worst bit).  Journalism today is like writing while sleepwalking.  A fiction produced through automatic writing.   

Many reporters – the Star-Ledger’s Jonathan Salant comes to mind – cannot get their brains out of their comfortable suburban surroundings, the cozy press club, the shared prejudices and opinions.  Never meeting another soul who is unlike them, they cannot imagine any way but their own.  A machine stuck at one speed, one function, doing the same thing, grinding on until it burns out. 

Then there are the activists.  These are the so-called journalists who think it cool to show that they are compromised from the start, their minds made up.  The Star-Ledger’s Tom Moran laid in out last year when he wrote:  “Voters will be standing in the booth Tuesday, and our core mission is helping them decide which lever to pull.”  Sounds more like the “core mission” of a political operation than of journalism.

Of course, there still are some genuine journalists out there.  A month before Moran wrote that stunning admission, the Atlantic City Press published an editorial which included these reassuring lines:  “Telling readers how to vote, however, is contrary to the mission of newspapers and other media, which is to extend the public’s experience and perspectives.  Newsgathering organizations give the public eyes, ears and memory beyond the capability of an individual.  

People want them to be reliable and credible.  When the media start making judgments, their audiences wonder if they’re altering their content to support that judgment too.”

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Which brings us to Matt Arco of… you guessed it, the Star-Ledger.  Why is Matt Arco number 34 on a list of 100 “LGBT Power” brokers?  Why is that kind of self-defining celebrity necessary for a journalist?  We thought he was covering the news, and here he is a power broker making the news.  What is a journalist doing cheek-by-jowl on a list of politicians, lobbyists, and political operatives?  

And why is he described as a “voice” when he should be a conduit of information, which is the heart and soul of journalism.  Is anyone really looking for another celebrity “voice” shouting to be heard, telling us their feelings, thoughts, opinions – or do we want to be informed about what’s really going on?  The title “political reporter” shouldn’t be meant literally. 

How can a journalist who allows himself to be placed on a celebrity “power” list be taken seriously?  As one of the top named members of a political identity group, how can we expect Matt Arco to fairly and honestly cover stories concerning religious groups with theological traditions that don’t line up with the policy agenda of his political identity group?  Groups such as Biblical Christians, Torah Jews, and adherent Muslims. 

How can Matt Arco be expected to fairly and honestly cover a candidate or  political organization whose positions or platform is not in agreement with the positions and platform of his political identity group – of which he is the 34th most powerful operative in the state?  Having Matt Arco cover the Republican Party is like sending Ann Coulter to cover the Democrats.  It’s not fair or honest.

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Did Star-Ledger collude with Murphy A.G. to produce anti-ballot question headline?

Journalism isn’t what it once was.  Today, there is a revolving door between journalism, government, politics, and lobbying.  Today’s journalist is likely to be tomorrow’s political director.

Look at the case of Mark Magyar, one of Senate President Steve Sweeney's top aides.  In December of 2014, Magyar was hired as the Democrat's new Director of Policy and Communications.  Magyar had been a statehouse reporter for the Asbury Park Press and the Bergen Record, as well as the editor of the New Jersey Spotlight.

The corporate and political empire of Democrat Party boss George Norcross – the political machine of which the Senate President is a part – has a history of co-opting or attempting to co-opt local and regional newspapers in that part of New Jersey where his authoritarian rule is almost uncontested.  The machine is in the process of solidifying its rule in its southern New Jersey base, while expanding its power across the state – and beyond.

Mark Magyar is the spouse of Elizabeth K. Parker, Co-publisher and Executive Editor of the New Jersey Hills Media Group.  The group is controlled by the Recorder Publishing Company, a privately held entity in Bernardsville, that owns and publishes 17 local newspapers in Republican Morris County, Somerset County, and Hunterdon County -- and in Republican towns in Essex County.  Their readership comes from towns that usually get the short end of the sick from the Democrats in Trenton.  The company also sells other services, including website development, search engine optimization, "Reputation Management", and "Social Media Management".

Newspapers were never as pure and disinterested as their cheerleaders would have us believe, but at least – once upon a time/ just yesterday – they did constitute a locus of power independent of political machines.  Not necessarily of their corporate advertisers (per Herman and Chomsky), but certainly of base political machines.  Those days are drawing to a close.

We saw evidence of this on Saturday, when the office of Gurbir Grewal, the state Attorney General appointed by Governor Phil Murphy, conspired with Star-Ledger/ NJ.com reporter Rob Jennings to concoct a news headline the Murphy administration could use to undermine the people of Sussex County’s right to vote on Murphy’s Sanctuary State scheme.  At issue was a public question on the November ballot, passed by the Freeholders in April, that asks the voters their opinion on whether Sussex County Sheriff Mike Strada should follow American law on illegal immigration – or the directives of the Murphy administration.

The Democrat Murphy administration is arguing that Sussex County taxpayers should not have the right to vote on issues that affect the performance of county functions that they pay for entirely out of their highest-in-the-nation property taxes.  Taxation without the right to vote sounds pretty un-American to us.

Concurrent with plans to allow illegal aliens to have drivers licenses and to give incarcerated violent criminals the right to vote and hire lobbyists, the Murphy administration is using Grewal in an attempt to bully and intimidate the elected Freeholders of Sussex County into ending plans to allow the people the right to vote on a public question on the November ballot.  Popular sentiment across the state has been running against Murphy, so Grewal’s office was charged with finding a reporter who would provide them with a headline they could use.

Jennings, a former intern with Democrat Governor Mario Cuomo, was used to provide it.  Grewal’s office leaked confidential correspondence to Jennings, who promptly wrote a story with the headline:  “Sussex County caves to Murphy AG, will not put immigration question on ballot.”  It was the journalistic equivalent of performing fellatio for Grewal’s office.

Of course, the headline was false.  Jennings lied.  The Star-Ledger printed fake news.  Only the County Clerk had “caved”.  In fact, the County Freeholder Board had hired a conservative attorney less than 48 hours before to fight the Murphy administration.  This special counsel was charged with creating an updated ballot question with language that defeats the legal objections raised by the Murphy administration, so that Murphy and his cronies cannot hold up its placement on the ballot through legal maneuverings.

Jennings refused to write about it.  Even after he was contacted by Freeholders and the Special Counsel, Jennings refused to correct or update his story.  The lie remained published.

Not only did Jennings break the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), but Grewal’s office may have broken its professional code as well.  Word is that both may face ethical enquiries.

Despite the false headline, the Sussex County Freeholders remain resolved to fight the Murphy administration, with or without the assistance of the County Clerk.  And the Freeholders could always bring a lawsuit to compel the Clerk to place the public question on the November ballot.

New Jersey is unique in its forms and ways of political corruption – especially of systemic corruption – in that it rides the wave just ahead of the rest of America.  Sadly, it appears that what we once called journalism is on a rapid descent into the realms of propaganda and in future will be little more than coarse party broadsheets -- advertisements using histrionics worthy of Pravda or the Völkischer Beobachter.

Tom Moran’s propaganda or the A.C. Press’ journalism?

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The showdown over the future of journalism is happening right here in New Jersey.  It’s between the editors of the Atlantic City Press and Tom Moran (and his acolytes) at the Star-Ledger (and elsewhere).

In October, the Atlantic City Press published an editorial which included these very remarkable lines:  “Telling readers how to vote, however, is contrary to the mission of newspapers and other media, which is to extend the public’s experience and perspectives.  News gathering organizations give the public eyes, ears and memory beyond the capability of an individual.  People want them to be reliable and credible.  When the media start making judgments, their audiences wonder if they’re altering their content to support that judgment too.”

“Altering their content to support (a) judgment”?  Isn’t that what Jonathan Salant (pronounced S’lant) does every day?  Isn’t his tongue so far up Editor Tom Moran’s perspective that it functions as a redundant tongue for Moran?  Repetition, repetition, repetition… via Salanted coverage and outrageously partisan editorials… isn’t that what political propaganda is all about?

But don’t take our word for it.  Here is Star-Ledger Editor Tom Moran himself, in his own words, in an editorial published just yesterday:  “Voters will be standing in the booth Tuesday, and our core mission is helping them decide which lever to pull.”

Well shit, if swaying voters is your “core mission” shouldn’t you register as a political action committee?  Afterall, the Star-Ledger is owned by some of the richest people in America – real 1 percenter scum – who have left no stone unturned in their relentless screwing over of working class union members and their families.  If they are going to exist with their “core mission” to influence elections, shouldn’t there be some transparency?  Or are we just going to let them operate in darkness – to use their billions and their paid whore mouthpieces like Tom Moran and Jonathan S’lant to keep screwing over working people and working class families?

Labor unions need to account for how their money is spent.  So do political campaigns and lobbyists and special interests groups.  So why not billionaire newspaper publishers whose “core mission” is helping voters decide which lever to pull? 

What makes it worse is that the rich pricks who own these newspapers are subsidized with taxpayers’ money.  They used their power and influence to lobby for a law that forces municipalities to buy advertisements in newspapers that could run for free on their own municipal websites.  This not only vastly expands their carbon footprint, and with it the threat to environmental sustainability, but it turns beautiful green forests into shitty pulp factories.  End the taxpayers’ subsidy unless the newspapers institute some transparency!

Now for some thoughts on the conduct of the campaign season that will come to a close on Tuesday.

The two major parties have starkly different ideas on how to conduct a political campaign.  The Democrats are all about the grassroots.  They raise money from their grassroots.  They make use of their grassroots base and their allies to prepare the ground, soften up their opponents, and inform their candidates.  You see it in these debates, with the Democrat candidates constantly referencing some conversation or concern with a real or mythical human being in the district

Most insiders don’t get what’s happening here because they are creatures of Trenton or Washington or politics – but it skews the outsider perspective into one where the battles appear to be between “a representative  of the government” (call him the Sheriff of Nottingham) and “a movement or collective of people” who are speaking through this individual who appears to be on their side and fighting for them (call him Robin Hood).  It is moving under the surface and goes beyond the traditional ideas of scoring debate points, which most pundits seem to focus on. 

The Democrats have the advantage here because they still have a grassroots that they have a relationship with and can work with and that depends on and works with them.  Because of their symbiotic relationship, the Democrats’ grassroots is well-funded enough to produce a harvest of volunteers, money, and votes for regular Democrat candidates.  Yes, there is a tinge of radicalism to much of this grassroots, but they appear to understand when to tone it down or keep it underground.  That’ probably because they are helped in their financing by the regular Democrats.

Republicans have largely decommissioned their grassroots in the Garden State, with campaigns becoming smaller and smaller “entrepreneurial” enterprises outside state and county party organizations.  The answer to everything is some new service or technology offered by some for-profit wunderkind.  The idea of motivating people with a message, of reaching out to one’s natural allies and of making them a part of a mission is utterly superfluous to this style of campaigning.  

And so, in keeping with this, Democrat candidates talk about the people they have met and what they have learned from them, while Republicans land the punches rehearsed in barren settings, devoid of anyone not political.  If the Democrats are real.  If the stories are not make believe.  If there is a depth of humanity to back each one up… look out on election day.

Finally, the talking heads who bracket these televised debates – both Democrats and Republicans – appear to forget that the same audience viewing the debate, is viewing them.  Cut the gentlemanly bullshit and get to work.  Rip the opponent worse than your candidate did (hey, your name isn’t on the ballot).  It’s the same damned debate, the same viewers, you are just a different means to deliver the message and continue the fight.  So get in the killer point that your candidate forgot.  Be a good wing man.  Shoot the bastard down.

Besides, nobody wants to see a self-reverential daisy chain of colorless “experts” or “professionals”.  Get into the mud and fight!

Media Research Center slams NJ Legislature for “propaganda bill”

It’s not quite Joseph Goebbels’ Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda or Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda (don’t all these ideas sound more at home in their original German… or Russian… or Spanish… or Chinese…???) but it’s a start in that direction.  Yep, it is bad enough that the state forces every property taxpayer to subsidize the larger state newspapers by requiring county and local governments to pay for advertisements – notices that they could put on their government websites for free – but now we have direct government funding of so-called “journalism”.  Stand by for the FAKE NEWS to fly.

Our friends at the Media Research Center hit the nail on the head…

NJ Passes State-Funded News Bill - Isn't That Called 'Propaganda?'

By P. Gardner Goldsmith

Glorious news! Following in the footsteps of the Obama-approved and promoted “Portman-Murphy Counter-Propaganda Act” of 2016, which sets aside over $150 million in federal tax funds to hand to dinosaur news media outlets, the legislature of New Jersey is finally ready to do its part! Isn’t that exciting?

Absolutely! As Joe Setyon reports for Reason, both the NJ House and Senate recently passed a bill to create the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium - state-funded news – beyond the already hair-graying public television and radio systems and state-funded colleges in the Garden State.

It’s a $5 million handout to “local press”, because, you know, when people don’t find it in their interest to purchase local newspapers or visit local news websites, they should be forced to pay for what they don’t want…

Right?

Writes Setyon:

The legislation in question creates a nonprofit group, the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium, charged with approving grant applications for local news. The bill has passed both houses of the state legislature; Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, has not yet signed it, but on Sunday he did sign a state budget that sets aside the money.

You can read the full article here: 

https://www.mrctv.org/blog/nj-legislature-passes-state-funded-news-aka-propaganda-bill

Setyon adds:

The liberal Free Press Action Fund has been pushing for such legislation for years. The group initially asked for a much larger endowment of $100 million, but it still greeted the news with pleasure. 'Never before has a state taken the lead to address the growing crisis in local news,' State Director Mike Rispoli said in a statement, calling New Jersey  a model for the rest of the nation.'

No thanks. There’s been enough of this nonsense in other areas of American culture. We don’t need it in journalism. And can one still call it “journalism” when it’s funded by the state?

Technically, the more precise term is “propaganda”.

For more information on the work of the Media Research Center, visit…

https://www.mrc.org/

Dem operative Devine continues attack on Phil Murphy

New Jersey Democrat operative Devine James has continued questioning Democrat gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy's fitness to hold public office.  Last week, Devine posted this nasty tweet:  "We are in a war with selfish, foolish & narcissistic rich people."

Over the weekend, we found these insightful comments by Devine on a website he maintains as a panegyric to himself: 

"We need to take the power to sway elections away from the greedy rich billionaires and put it back in the hands of the people. We need to make life livable so impoverished families are not at the mercy of uncaring politicians and greedy corporations. We need to restore faith among people that government can be a force for good and the first step would be stopping the government from doing so much harm."

We agree.  Rich liberal billionaires suck.  Big government sucks.  Corporate welfare and its enablers suck.

Devine's website calls himself a "masterful Democratic Party campaign strategist, a crusading journalist and an accomplished leader..."  He is also regarded to be a very trusted Democrat Party hand-job with a penchant for tortured prose like this: 

"A total of 7,765 Occupy protesters have been arrested around the U.S. since Occupy Wall Street began on September 17, 2011. Bankers arrested for robbing $22 trillion from middle class families, greedy corporate executives charged for wrecking the American economy and sanctions imposed on those greedy corporations are outnumbered by the words in this sentence."

Although oddly worded, Devine does make the point that it was bankers -- like Phil Murphy -- who sucked the life out of the U.S. economy and got both a bail out and a bonus for their efforts.  It does pay to lobby... don't it?

Democrat nominee Murphy was a Democrat Party fundraiser and finance chair before President Obama rewarded him with a grace and favor position as an Ambassador.  Murphy bragged that he raised more than $300 million for Democrat Party candidates and himself spent at least $2 million greasing the palms of office holders and candidates for public office.

And for all of you who still want to think of the media as political noncombatants, get a load of what Devine writes about himself:

"In addition to his decade of experience publishing a chain of weekly newspapers, including the News Record, the Patriot, the Perth Amboy Gazette, the Atom Tabloid, the South Amboy-Sayreville Citizen, Devine was publisher of several monthly special interest magazines, including New Jersey Wreck Diver and Kid Zone, During that period, he served two years as secretary of the Rahway Chamber of Commerce.

Devine started his career in journalism as a reporter for WKNJ FM Radio, the Elizabeth Daily Journal, and the Bridgewater Courier News (a Gannett newspaper) and as managing editor of the Kean College Independent, a student-run campus weekly newspaper. He is a currently a contributing editor and consultant to New Jersey's oldest weekly newspaper and its website, WWW.NJTODAY.NET."

This is the same guy who, when he is not dumping on Phil Murphy, says he wants to hunt Republicans.  Why?  Do they taste better than Democrats?

"In addition to being elected six times as a member of the Union County Democratic Committee, Devine served as a council coordinator with MoveOn.org, member of the Sierra Club, ACLU, NOW (National Organization for Women), AARP and NAACP, president of the Elizabeth Democratic Association and chairman of the Coalition for Quality Education."

Phil Murphy is a Wall Streeter who made his money at the notoriously anti-worker firm of Goldman Sucks.  Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Mr. Murphy's career there:

From 1997 to 1999, Murphy served as the President of Goldman Sachs (Asia).[9] In that capacity, he was officed in Hong Kong.[19] During this time Goldman Sachs profited from its investment in Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings, a shoe manufacturer which became notorious for its harsh labor practices.[20]

... Then in 1999 Murphy secured a spot on the firm's Management Committee.[7] There his colleagues included Hank Paulson and Gary Cohn, both of whom later served at highest levels of the federal government.[17] This coincided with the Glass–Steagall: aftermath of repeal and made a profound change in how Murphy and his colleagues made their profits, with much greater use of leverage than before.[17]

In 2001 Murphy became global co-head of the Investment Management Division of the firm.[7][21][17] This unit oversaw the investments of foundations, pensions, hedge funds, and wealthy personages, and by 2003 it had amassed some $373 billion in holdings.[17] Hedge funds in particular received large lines of credit from Murphy's unit.[17] Another company initiative that Murphy helped to undertake was the unit that did major business in the emerging markets within the EMEA region.[19]

According to Wikipedia, Murphy thinks of himself as a member of an "elite" and actually bragged about this to the Wall Street Journal in 1998, comparing Goldman Sucks to the United States Marine Corps... but with a different pay scale... and you don't get shot at... and you get to rip-off child workers... and finance regimes that uphold the best traditions of slave labor and human trafficking.

Likewe said, Devine James makes some real strong points about Phil Murphy, and that's something, coming from the former political director of the New Jersey Democrat State Committee.  Here's a photo of Devine with the first Phil Murphy, another corporate Democrat billionaire who made his dough ripping off the folks.

"An ardent believer in lifelong learning, Devine studied Political Science, Journalism and Mass Communications at Kean University. He has been accredited by the New Jersey Press Association and as a member of the Academy of Political Science, as well as numerous other professional and civic associations.

Over the years, Devine has been employed by seven Democratic state lawmakers as a legislative aide or chief of staff."

That's a lot of smoke to blow up your own ass.  Little guy... big ego?  Let's ask an expert...

But the smoke from this hero's pipe just keeps blowing...

"Throughout his life, Devine maintained vast moral courage, often paying a high personal price for showing unequaled bravery by taking principled stands against fierce adversaries and standing up to his friends when he believed them to be wrong. The qualities his critics may never acknowledge have been documented from his earliest days in politics right through to the current time; by some of the very friends he suffered for opposing."

Yep, in this hero's mind, his shit is vast and unequaled.  So what does our expert think?

To close, here is the hero himself, caught short, in a candid pose, outside the corporate offices of a local pharmaceutical giant.