Saturday, August 20, 2016

Our media is profoundly broken

Big news a couple days ago was that health insurance giant Aetna pulled out most of the health exchange market. The reason given, and which news sources repeated, is that Aetna was losing money through the exchange. A big deal was made of many states or regions were down to one company on the exchange.

What wasn't reported as much is (1) Aetna made a 38% increase in profits in the last quarter of 2015 and saw 2016 looking rosy, and (2) a month ago Obama's Department of Justice blocked Aetna's proposed acquisition of Humana. The DoJ said the merger would reduce competition. Aetna's pullout from the exchange could be a retaliation or an effort to gain a bargaining chip.

Melissa McEwen of Shakesville has a few things to say about the Donald Trump campaign hiring Stephen Bannon from Breitbart to be the campaign's chief executive. She looks over what the GOP has been doing over the last 30 years and concludes:
Trump is not an anomaly; he was an inevitability.

McEwen was involved in a project as part of Blue Nation Review. They reviewed what the mainstream media has been writing about both Clinton and Trump. In their research going back to August 1, 2015 they found that Clinton's emails were mentioned by the media every single day. This is a story for which Clinton apologized and the FBI has found she committed no intentional wrongdoing.

As for Trump, a week after he suggests Clinton should be assassinated there are only three stories in mainstream media – and two of them were because Yuval Rabin talked about it. Yuval's father, Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister of Israel, was murdered after someone made a suggestion similar to Trump's about knocking him off.

Clinton's emails are mentioned daily. Trump's call for assassination gets a yawn. And Trump complains the media is biased against him.

Our media is broken. Profoundly broken.

Heather Digby Parton, writing for Salon, takes a look at the aftermath of Reagan Democrats, a well studied bit of the electorate. What was found was a feeling in this group that the Democratic Party was working on behalf of people of color, feminists, and poor people and those who refused to work. They hated paying taxes because it helped all those other people. The lament: What are you going to do for us.

Yeah, there was a large dose of racism and big chunk of white privilege (white working class males were the ones saying this). It seems these white males were saying a majority doesn't count unless we're a part of it.

A lot of these disaffected men are looking to Trump. But this cohort isn't part of the majority anymore. And it looks like Bernie Sanders raised their consciousness. What helps the economic plight of people of color also helps white working class males. If they don't turn to the Dems, perhaps they'll start pushing the GOP to pay attention to them.

The RG & GR Harris Funeral Home in Garden City is near where I live. One of their employees announced she was transitioning to female and would begin coming to work wearing the required female attire. The management fired her, saying he was not conforming to their dress code. They ran through various reasons, finally settling on religious freedom – this is a funeral home and has very religious people coming to it. We must protect those who need our services. The woman, Aimee Stephens, sued.

Judge Sean Cox of the US District Court in Detroit has ruled on the case. He decided the Hobby Lobby decision by the Supremes was appropriate here. That decision said that the religious beliefs of the owners of a company (without public shareholders) must be respected. That allowed Hobby Lobby deny contraceptives in the medical insurance it provided to its employees. Cox said that reasoning applied in this case.

Critics, of course, say this extends the intent of the Supremes to permit any type of gender or race discrimination that a company says is religiously motivated.

Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin has an excerpt from the Advocate from August 14, 1974. Some elderly women were using binoculars to watch nude gay men on a nearby beach. One said:
You wouldn’t believe the shocking, perverted things that go on. It’s awful. We sit here and watch it all day.

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