Bill Maher and his guests – Asra Nomani, Jay Leno, Michael Steele, Dylan Ratigan and Paul Reiser – answer viewer questions after the show.
Bill Maher and his guests – Asra Nomani, Jay Leno, Michael Steele, Dylan Ratigan and Paul Reiser – answer viewer questions after the show.
Trevor Noah on Monday decided to take a closer look at GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson’s assertion that the media is vetting his background more intensely than it did for President Barack Obama during his presidential campaign.
Republican candidates have spent a great deal of time so far in this election cycle criticizing the media for liberal bias — from critiquing the way debates have been moderated to complaining about being treated “unfairly” by the media — and Carson has been no exception to this trend. In an interview that aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Carson claimed that the media is investigating his past with more fervor than any other presidential candidate in prior elections.
“I have not seen that with anyone else,” Carson told NBC’s Chris Jansing. “If you can show me where that’s happened with someone else, I’ll will take that statement back.”
“Challenge accepted, Dr. Carson,” Noah said on “The Daily Show,” before showing a montage of news clips from the 2008 election cycle in which the media exhaustedly vetted then-Senator Obama’s background — going so far as to question whether he was really a U.S. citizen.
“Yeah, so they vetted Obama to the point where they questioned that he was a legitimate natural-born American citizen,” Noah said. “But at least no one ever accused Obama of not stabbing a guy.”
The media flocked to cover football players at the University of Missouri protest the handling of racial incidents on campus, but some of the student protesters balked at the influx — going so far as to form a human shield to keep reporters away from the action.
Traditionally, protesters might have welcomed coverage of their plight, certain that the national media’s attention would amplify their calls and put more pressure on the institution.
There are many reasons for this. The students already accomplished their landmark goal — these tweets were sent after university president Tim Wolfe announced his resignation on Monday. The campus has seen dozens, if not hundreds, of reporters descend, most of them, like the national media, overwhelmingly white. And these students have come of age after the rise of digital organizing. The national media is just another institution they don’t need, as the Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery points out:
The standoff appears to have caught many members of the national media, as well as student journalists at the university, off guard.
George Will’s Thursday attack on Bill O’Reilly is not really about Ronald Reagan’s presidency. It is an opening salvo in a fight for control of the Republican Party. In a blistering op-ed—an op-ed, mind you, not a book review—Will savaged the newest book in O’Reilly’s killing series: Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault that Changed a Presidency. Will loathed O’Reilly’s contention that John Hinckley’s assassination attempt started Reagan’s descent into dementia only 70 days into his presidency. But that questioning of Reagan’s mental capacity is not what’s at the heart of Will’s attack on O’Reilly. What’s really going on is that establishment Republicans want to cut the extremists away from the party.
It may be too late.
Will’s criticism of Killing Reagan indicts O’Reilly for, well, making shit up. The book, Will notes, is “a tissue of unsubstantiated assertions.” Neither O’Reilly nor his ghostwriter actually did any research. They did not visit the Reagan Library; they did not interview any of the key players in the Reagan White House. Will calls the book “a no-facts zone,” and condemns it as “nonsensical history and execrable citizenship.” Will uses the inexcusable deficiencies of Killing Reagan to attack “today’s cultural pathology of self-validating vehemence with blustery certitudes substituting for evidence.” In other words, Will has had it with politicians who lie and then bully people into believing in their fantasy world.
The irony of Will’s outrage is that it was President Reagan who enabled such political storytelling to take over the Republican Party. After the second World War, when party leaders tried to resurrect the free-for-all economy of the 1920s that had collapsed into the Great Depression, President Dwight Eisenhower stepped in to articulate instead a new vision for the Republican Party. He led Republicans to back the New Deal consensus. Eisenhower agreed with Democrats that the government must regulate business, provide for social welfare, and develop the nation’s infrastructure, and he believed that bringing labor leaders, businessmen, and intellectuals to the same table—sometimes literally, as he invited men to dinner—to debate would enable political leaders to reach the best possible outcome for the nation. Eisenhower insisted on grappling with the complexities of reality and begged his opponents to do the same.
But businessmen who had thrived in the unregulated economy of the 1920s could not stomach the New Deal consensus. To combat it, they could not use reality-based arguments, for those arguments invariably led voters to government activism. Instead, in the 1950s, those opposed to the New Deal consensus began to create a cartoon version of reality. They laid out a storyline in which America was under siege by secular New Dealers. These “Liberals,” were ushering communism into America by insisting on an activist government that destroyed American individualism and religion.
They sold that storyline with bluster and bullying. Wisconsin’s Sen. Joseph McCarthy led the way. In his highly publicized attacks on supposed communists in Eisenhower’s administration, he presented himself as an outsider defending America from the communists who had infiltrated the government. He hectored witnesses, he bullied, he shouted, he made dramatic—and demonstrably false—statements. By the time fact checkers caught up with old lies, McCarthy was on to new ones. Movement Conservatives noted his techniques.
Republicans now have a list of demands.
Still reeling from what Republican Party chief Reince Priebus called “gotcha” questions last week in the CNBC primary debate that were “petty and mean-spirited in tone,” campaign operatives huddled over the weekend to address the Great Debate crisis of 2015.
Indeed, by suspending a Feb. 26 debate scheduled to be hosted by NBC News and the NBC-owned, Spanish-language network Telemundo, Republicans signaled that the latest bout of media catcalls from the right — catcalls that have been part of working the refs for decades — have attained almost mythical status.
Republicans, in mid-game, are now trying to dictate the terms of the debates. Donald Trump is even negotiating directly with television executives in an effort to alter the content and format. The unprecedented blitz sends a clear message that if moderators aren’t nice to candidates and if there are any objections over “tone,” future debates might get yanked.
“What happened in this debate wasn’t an attack by the press on the candidates. It was an attack by the candidates on the press,” wrote William Saletan at Slate. “Presented with facts and figures that didn’t fit their story, the leading Republican candidates accused the moderators of malice and deceit.”
But will Republicans get away with it? Early signs look promising for the GOP, less promising for journalism.
If you can only afford a subscription to one streaming service right now, it should be Hulu without ads. It’s the best one going.
Netflix, the long-running champion, has the hype, and Amazon Prime has the massive amounts of cash necessary to mount a challenge to Netflix. But Hulu has what really counts: programming. I subscribe to all three and spend far, far more time watching Hulu than the other two. It’s turned itself into a service for true TV and film obsessives.
Let’s take a look at what I mean.
Here’s the thing about Netflix’s TV library: It’s not terribly deep. Certainly, the service has the benefit of some of the best shows in TV history, like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and Louie. But if you’ve already seen the shows the service has had on offer — for years now! — then you’re likely scraping the bottom of the barrel.
Where Netflix is struggling is in adding new acquired shows to the list of series it already has. Yes, its partnerships with AMC and The CW have added exciting new programs like Better Call Saul, The Flash, and Jane the Virgin to its library in recent months. But more and more TV programmers seem to be trying to make deals with other services, in order to level the playing field a bit.
FX president John Landgraf even went on the record about this at this summer’s Television Critics Association press tour.
“We had a concerted effort not to only sell to Netflix,” he said. “Ultimately, we sold Justified and The Americans to Amazon, and now we’ve made an output deal with Hulu.” And indeed, FX sold some of its series to Netflix in the past, but it hasn’t since Louie, which debuted in 2010.
For a time, it seemed like this shift would be to Amazon’s benefit. That service scooped up exclusive deals for shows like Orphan Black and Hannibal, in addition to the FX series Landgraf mentioned and a good chunk of HBO’s back catalog. But in recent months, the momentum has swung toward Hulu, which has acquired show after show after show, and every one among the best TV has to offer.
I first noticed this while updating my list of the best 18 shows currently airing on TV every week. Each week, I would go searching for streaming options for these programs, and discover that Hulu had the rights to earlier seasons. Empire. The Last Man on Earth. Brooklyn Nine-Nine. You’re the Worst. Fargo. Manhattan. Essentially anything on Comedy Central and Cartoon Network.
If it’s debuted in the last three years or so, it’s far likelier to have an exclusive deal with Hulu than with Netflix. And if you’re someone who’s reasonably up to date with recent classics (as I am), that makes Hulu a much more attractive option.
But wait, as they say, there’s more.
If you subscribe to Hulu, you can watch brand new episodes of TV shows from four of the five major broadcast networks the day after they originally air, to say nothing of many cable networks. You can also do this on Amazon, but you have to pay a per-episode fee for the privilege. Because Hulu is owned in a joint venture between ABC, NBC, and Fox, watching the episode is rolled into your subscription fee.
Yes, it’s a huge headache how the various networks handle availability. Fox generally makes all episodes of a current season available, while ABC seems content with only a handful. And CBS, the biggest broadcast network, keeps its own shows segregated into its own streaming service (though its sister networks, The CW and Showtime, both have Hulu deals).
But this is not something Netflix or Amazon offers. Really, the only comparable services are those offered by various cable networks, like HBO Go or FX Now. And both of those feature only that network’s content and are tied directly to your cable subscription. Hulu is limited by what networks and studios will allow it to do, but it’s the closest anybody’s yet come to putting all of last night’s TV in one convenient place.
Netflix has gotten lots of attention in recent years for its overseas imports, shows like Black Mirror, Peaky Blinders, and Witnesses. And those are all terrific shows, well worth watching if you haven’t yet gotten to them on your Netflix crawl.
But Hulu, thanks to partnerships with other providers like DramaFever, bests Netflix in this arena as well. It has massive amounts of content from overseas, including a bunch of unheralded classics, like Rev., a British sitcom about an inner-city pastor, and Braquo, a dark French cop drama. And that’s to say nothing of the massive amounts of foreign-language dramas DramaFever brings to the site. Honestly, in this regard, Hulu may offer too many options, which could be why it seems to downplay this side of itself.
Finally, Hulu is your best option for classic TV shows, too — and I don’t mean recent classics. I mean classic classics. Sure, there are plenty of shows that are on essentially all of the major streaming services, like Cheers, but thanks to its connection with Shout! Factory, Hulu has some gems that nobody else does, like shows from MTM Productions (Mary Tyler Moore, The Bob Newhart Show, etc.) and Mystery Science Theater 3000.
While Donald Trump is bragging about closing mosques to fight Islamic terrorism, there has been an under-reported surge of right-wing terrorism recently in the U.S.
Since July, when anti-choice crusaders released hoax videos that falsely claimed that Planned Parenthood sells fetal body parts, there has been a rash of arsons at clinics, at least one of which doesn’t perform abortions. Just this week, police in New Hampshire arrested a teenager threatening a Planned Parenthood with a hatchet. After the racist church shooting in Charleston in June, itself an ugly act of domestic terrorism, there were a series of fires at black churches across the South.
And now St. Louis law enforcement fears that there’s an arsonist on the loose in the city, setting fire to churches with predominantly black or racially mixed congregations. This is on top of what the Southern Poverty Law Center was already calling a resurgence in domestic terrorism across the United States.
That we are living in an era of major conservative backlash is not news. From the wholesale assault on reproductive rights to the dramatic increase in restrictions on voting to the bizarrely enduring Donald Trump campaign, the evidence everywhere suggests that right-wing America is freaking out and lashing out. They can feel their control over the country, which has a black president and legal gay marriage now, slipping out of their fingers.
The temper tantrum has grown so massive it’s threatening even the Republican party, which is being torn apart by purity tests and fury over even the slightest hint of cooperation with liberals, who are seen as a subversive threat to be stomped out instead of fellow citizens to work through your issues with.
So it’s really not a huge surprise that, with right-wing anger levels so high, a small number are taking it to the next level and setting fire to churches and clinics. Unfortunately, this isn’t really getting the media attention it deserves.
The summer’s church burnings got a smattering of coverage, but less than the debate over the Confederate flag. The fire bombings and arson attacks that have hit four Planned Parenthood clinics since interest renewed in attacking the organization have barely registered in the national media, according to a report by Media Matters. These St. Louis burnings are so frequent and close together that they are getting more national media coverage, but it has barely gone beyond bare bones reporting to dig into the deeper issue of the connection between the rise in right wing radicalism and the rise in domestic terrorism.