Monday, October 21, 2019

The bullshit never ends.

Oh my God, there is just no end to the bullshit. There is a bottomless supply of whacko billionaire money to fund a never-ending production of bullshit. Here's a new one. Or at least one I hadn't heard about until just now. They're called "AllSides" Which, honestly, is probably enough for you to judge the level of bullshittiness they put out.

They produce, among other things, this handy-dandy bias chart for schools and libraries to teach kids about the leanings of various news sources. Which would be great. If it weren't bullshit.

Look at the below chart:

AllSides Media Bias Chart 2019

I mean, I don't know where to begin,
I guess I could start with the fact that the New York Times op-ed section, the home of David Brooks, Ross Douthat, Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss is listed as "LEFT." So right away, you're being lied to. It's not even a plausible lie. Does the Times have a single columnist who could accurately be described as "left?" "Liberal, maybe.. But I can't think of anyone I would consider a real lefty. And even if they did, they are more than balanced out by the far-right hacks the Times sees fit to keep publishing. At best, I would rate the Times editorial section as "Center," but if I'm being honest, I gotta go with "leans right."

Also, it's one thing to say that Democracy Now! and the Nation are as lefty as National Review and Breitbart are to the right, but they're ignoring a very important distinction, which is that National review, Breitbart, and the others listed on the right make shit up. Yes, there are outlets like the Nation or Alternet who have a left-leaning bias. But they don't lie. They don't smear. They don't traffic in wild conspiracy theories the way every one of the right outlets do. Also, if you are lumping in milquetoast liberal outlets like HuffPo with the Jacobin, you clearly need more categories. And if you're listing the Daily Beast, an outlet that features Meghan McCain, on the "Left," you either have no idea what you're taking about, or you're just being extremely dishonest. Ten seconds on Wikipedia will tell you all you need to know about the Daily Beast.

Editor-in-Chief John Avlon began pairing reporters from both the right and left sides of the political spectrum to cover stories on the White House. In particular, they are using both Asawin Suebsaeng (formerly of Mother Jones) and Lachlan Markay (formerly of the Heritage Foundation) to file stories on the Trump Administration. Avlon commented about the approach saying, "We're nonpartisan, but not neutral. And so bringing these two perspectives together, I think, helps us stand out from the pack."[14]

So it's bullshit. And I'm sure they know it's bullshit. It's typical right-wing bullshit. When you can't deny your own malignancy, simply pretend that the other side does the same thing and everyone else is just as bad. But they're feeding this bullshit to kids. Look:

So, who is "All Sides?" Well, here's how they describe themselves:

AllSides has done the seemingly impossible. We’ve found something both sides of the political aisle agree on: that respectfully listening to understand all perspectives is a solution to navigating our modern world, and that it’s worth investing in that outcome — for the good of democracy.

No. Not really.
I mean, if one side is Elizabeth Warren and the other is Bernie Sanders? Yeah. We should listen to each other's points of view. But when one side is Warren and Sanders and the other side is Breitbart, Bannon, Trump and the "very fine people" who favor white nationalism? Hell no!
There is nothing to be gained by humoring or entertaining the racist, misogynist, xenophobic and anti-LGBT denizens of the right. They bring nothing to the table but hatred. These are not the "conservatives" of previous generations. There are not Eisenhower conservatives, or Bob Dole concervatives or even Nixon conservatives. These are the people that previous generations of conservatives were afraid of. Not so afraid that they didn't court their votes and rely on their support, but still. There's an expression I heard somewhere that you shouldn't give the devil a ride, because the devil will end up driving. The Laura Ingrahams and Tucker Carlsons of today's right are the devils who have seized the wheel. We do not owe these people a listen. We have no obligation to hear them out. They are poison.

That also means that at AllSides, you are sure to find someone involved who you don’t like or agree with. Our readers are pretty evenly split among left, right and mixed political leanings – about one third each.

Yeah. . . I don't believe you. I notice there's no link to any kind of audience research data. I mean, you just toss out this statistic with nothing to back it up. I would bet more money than I can afford to lose that you're bullshitting again.

So, where does a bullshit production company get its funding? Well, the answer just may surprise you not at all if you've been paying attention to politics for the last few decades.

AllSides has also worked with organizations and received funding from the Charles Koch Foundation. 

I know. Shocking, right?

Oh, but of course, it's not just Koch money. They get funding from other sources too.

For example, we have partnered and received some funding from some organizations that are dedicated to bridging divides, and many of these are run mostly by people from the left. Some have received money from people like Tom Steyer, billionaire donor and leader of progressive causes.

So, I see we've expanded the definition of "progressive" to mean "anything to the left of Mussolini?"

Tom Steyer is no progressive.
He is a centrist at best, running on a platform of appeasing the 99% just enough that we don't start building guillotines.

Look at his website:

Tom on Health Care

Tom believes health care is a basic human right. As president, he will:
  • Fight for universal health care coverage as a right
  • Create a strong public option to compete with the private insurance marketplace and give the people a choice in their care
We want single payer. We want what they have in Canada. Or something similar, manybe what they have in France or Sweden or the Netherlands, whatever. We want Medicare for All.

70 percent of Americans support 'Medicare for all' proposal

Steyer proposes "options" and "choices," ensuring that the leeches of the for-profit healthcare system can remain in business.

Tom on the Economy

Unchecked capitalism has allowed corporations to hijack our democracy. Tom’s economic agenda puts people over profits by:
  • Breaking the corporate stranglehold on government
  • Investing in the American people
  • Harnessing innovation and competition

Ooh, harnessing innovation and competition? You left out "the invisible hand of the free market!"
it's all vague, blandly pleasant-sounding pablum. Nothing I would call "progressive." Certainly he's no counterweight to the god damned Koch brothers!

So I have not been able to find out how many schools have been infected with the AllSides strain of bullshit. There are testimonials from teachers in several states, but  who knows? Also, I don't know if these arer public schools or weirdo private ones. But this bullshit is out there and it's pretty much guaranteed to spread.