Brian Williams Helped Pave the Way to War
, by Sheldon Richman
, 10 Feb 2015
Comments on the mainstream broadcast and cable TV network "journalists" who unquestioningly supported and support government military actions around the world
Have you heard that from Brian Williams, Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC, Wolf Blitzer or Fareed Zakaria of CNN, David Muir of ABC, Scott Pelley of CBS, or Shepard Smith, Chris Wallace, and Bret Baier of Fox News? No, you have not. Instead, they casually refer to "Iran's nuclear weapons program" as if it were an indisputable fact ... in their eyes it is unnecessary to interview anyone who could challenge that claim ... Joe Scarborough ... one-upped this reckless gang by asserting that Iran has "promised to get a nuclear weapon and then has promised to use the nuclear weapon to annihilate Israel." He then repeated this double lie.
Cast a Giant Ballot
, by Clifford F. Thies, The Freeman
, Oct 1997
Memorial and biographical essay on Roger MacBride, discussing his influence on the early Libertarian Party as well as his involvement in the Little House
This bleeding-heart libertarianism was the reason for the enormous success of the Little House saga that Roger MacBride advanced both through his involvement in the television series ... I remember Roger telling me of some of the conflicts between him and Michael Landon in producing the ... series ... Roger insisted that the children run around in bare feet, which would have been historically accurate, while ... Landon insisted that the children wear shoes, since the television audience, not knowing the circumstances involved, would have thought that the parents were neglecting their children if they didn't provide them with shoes.
Henry Grady Weaver's Classic Vision of Freedom
, by John Hood, The Freeman
, Aug 1997
Expanded version of Hood's introduction to the 1997 edition of Weaver's The Mainspring of Human Progress
; discusses the changing attitudes towards business during the second half of the 20th century
Even into the 1960s, television series continued to portray those in business as 'good guys'. Westerns were one surprising source of positive images about business: Remember that Ben Cartwright of 'Bonanza' ran a sprawling ranching and mining empire on the family's 1,000-acre Ponderosa estate? ... the percentage of big business characters portrayed as villains rose from 31 percent before 1965 to 58 percent afterward. The authors compared, for example, the positive portrayals of the Cartwright family in 'Bonanza' to the largely corrupt and immoral Ewing family of 'Dallas.'
, by Sheldon Richman
, 22 Feb 2007
Reflects on the 2008 United States presidential campaign, likening it to show biz and suggesting the candidates are running for the job of emperor
Politics, and presidential politics most especially, is little more than theater ... Just watch the television coverage. The focus is on the horserace aspect process. Anything resembling an idea is just a way to distinguish one horse from another. Themes are little more than gimmicks. One candidate claims to be the straight talker. Another's heart bleeds about the two Americas ... (Do you believe that Hillary Clinton really wants to have a conversation with you?) ... This is all role playing, and it's designed to achieve one thing: power. Over you. It's been true for a long time. How could campaigning be anything else but show biz?
Libertarian Applications to Current Problems: The Problems
, by Murray Rothbard
, For a New Liberty
Chapter 4 of For A New Liberty
: List of brief overviews of major problems in society, e.g., taxes, fiscal crisis, crime, pollution, inflation, etc.
Television consists of bland programs and distorted news. Radio and television channels have been nationalized for half a century by the federal government, which grants channels as a gift to privileged licensees, and can and does withdraw these gifts when a station displeases the government's Federal Communications Commission. How can any genuine freedom of speech or of the press exist under such conditions?
Milton Friedman (1912-2006)
, by Richard Ebeling
, Sheldon Richman
, 17 Nov 2006
Memorial tribute, highlighting Friedman's role in opposing Keynesianism, and his books and other public activities (a revised version appeared in The Freeman
Free to Choose, according to the Fortune Encyclopedia of Economics, became the best-selling nonfiction book of 1980. Sales were boosted by the ten-part companion television series on PBS. Each week viewers saw the congenial Friedman clearly explain why free markets serve individuals and society best, and why government creates chaos and poverty — all well illustrated with beautiful location footage, including scenes of Hong Kong's success. Four years later Friedman again combined a book with a television series in The Tyranny of the Status Quo, also co-written with Rose Friedman.
, by Sheldon Richman
, 25 Apr 2008
Discusses the revelations by The New York Times
about TV military analysts, appearing to be independent observers, but briefed by the Pentagon and connected as lobbyists, executives or consultants of sundry military contractors
As we now know, ... the military-industrial complex is well represented in the daily television news coverage of the Iraq and Afghan occupations. Those former generals who seemed generously to have come out of retirement to provide disinterested analysis of the Bush administration's military adventures are neither generous nor disinterested ... As the Times put it, "Records ... show how the Bush administration has used its control ... in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse — an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks."
South Park Libertarians: Trey Parker and Matt Stone on liberals, conservatives, censorship, and religion
, by Nick Gillespie
, Jesse Walker, Reason
, Dec 2006
Transcript of conversation with Trey Parker and Matt Stone, at Reason's August 2006 conference, in Amsterdam, on the future of free expression and free markets in Europe
Reason: How did the network respond to pressure from the Church of Scientology about that episode?
Stone: They blew it off. To be fair, it wasn't really at the Comedy Central level. It was way up at the Viacom level. [Viacom owns Comedy Central.] It wasn't a choice or anything we had any say in. The only thing that we got was a phone call saying that the producers of Mission Impossible: 3 [which stars Cruise] want this show off the air ... But then we realized ... you can't just pull an episode off the air anymore. People are going to find out ... it was all over the press. The Internet makes those backroom deals a lot harder to do.
War Is Peace and Other Things the Government Wants You to Believe
[PDF], by Sheldon Richman
, Jun 2008
Transcript of speech given at The Future of Freedom Foundation's June 2008 conference, “Restoring the Republic: Foreign Policy & Civil Liberties”, including audience questions
Well, think about how corrupt this system is, with the networks being full participants in it. Parading every night on television to the American people these ... retired military officers. There's a certain respect, maybe even awe ... someone who's been highly decorated, fought in Vietnam ... They always recite the credentials, so most people are saying, "Okay, this guy's probably giving me the straight scoop." The networks never let on that these guys had a vested interest and were just really mouthpieces for the administration. It was a page one story, I think on a Sunday in the New York Times ...
Related Topics: American Revolutionary War
, Standing Army
, Thirteen Colonies
, United States Constitution
, Jeffrey Rogers Hummel
, James Madison
, The Matrix
, Military Industrial Complex
, George Orwell
, Freedom of the Press
, Alexis de Tocqueville
, Vietnam War
, by John Stossel
, Jacob Sullum
, Apr 1997
Lengthy introduction and interview, discussing Stossel's early work, his ABC News specials, his response to criticism, ABC's policies, objective reporting, and topics he would like to cover
Stossel: ... [W]e're all trying to be objective, but we all have points of view, and we'd probably do better acknowledging that ... My most opinionated work falls between an op-ed piece and a news article. When I get too opinionated, they make me superimpose the word commentary over what I am saying.
Reason: When does that happen?
Stossel: On 20/20, it's assumed that the chats with Hugh [Downs] and Barbara [Walters] are commentary. But on "Are We Scaring Ourselves to Death?," for example, when I made the argument that regulation, by increasing poverty, was killing people, they made me superimpose the word commentary.
, by Drew Carey, Nick Gillespie
, Steven Kurtz, Reason
, Nov 1997
Interview topics range from Hollywood reactions to Carey's humor, his attitude toward government, the ABC network censor, Las Vegas, drug legalization and more
[Carey's] self-titled television show, which airs ... on ABC, is beginning its third season ensconced in the Nielsen top 20 (and locked in a ratings war with NBC's Third Rock from the Sun) ... In his sitcom, which shares certain blue-collar affinities with shows such as Roseanne and Grace Under Fire, his character is an assistant personnel manager at a Cleveland department store. He is ... besieged on all sides by an indifferent employer, hostile co-workers, aimless friends, and a strong sense of his own inadequacy and lack of success. From this potentially grim reality, Carey squeezes immense humor (and precious little sentimentality).
Voodoo and Violence: Magician Penn Jillette sees through the censors' tricks
, by Penn Jillette, Steven Kurtz, Reason
Topics discussed include: Janet Reno's denunciations of TV violence, the confusions about "censorship", Howard Stern, Beavis and Butt-Head
and contrasting Republicans vs. Democrats
Janet Reno ... talked about how violence on television has an effect on violence in the real world. This is damn near a textbook definition of voodoo ... What she doesn't realize when she talks about getting rid of television violence ... is that violence in the arts is not a celebration of pain and suffering, but rather a celebration of health and life. One of the ways that we can ... channel that pain somewhere else, is that wonderful feeling we get by [experiencing all that vicariously]. At the end of [fictional violence], the victims are completely OK. It's the perfect insult to suffering and pain.