Fox Cycle Explained

You can find the original of this post over at Media Matters.

images.jpgThe Fox Cycle is the process by which Fox News pushes right-wing fringe stories into the mainstream news. Fox distorts facts, spreads myths as truths and devotes heavy, one-sided coverage to make viewers believe in baseless, manufactured stories — and, worse, to convince mainstream media outlets to cover these lies.

The Fox Cycle occurs in six steps:

  1. Right-wing bloggers, talk radio hosts, and other conservative media outlets start promoting a fringe or false story.
  2. Fox News picks up the story and gives it heavy, one-sided coverage.
  3. Fox News and conservative media attack the “liberal media” for ignoring it.
  4. Mainstream media outlets eventually cover the story, echoing the right-wing distortions.
  5. Fox News receives credit for promoting the story.
  6. The story is later proved to be false or wildly misleading, long after damage is done.

Continue reading

The Republic of Wine

51v31QsIhrLMany novels slalom between reality, or at least a fictional reality, and fiction. Characters step out of the fiction to be a part of the reality and real personages are sucked into the fiction. Add to this the somewhat clichéd tactic of having one of the characters writing in the fictional reality when they are also a part of the fiction and their writing becomes the real fiction of the novel. But in some novels there is room for the real to leak into the fiction and the fictional to leak into the real, the fictional real, that is.

Take Mo Yan’s excellent novel, The Republic of Wine. The story starts with an investigation into rumors that babies are being eaten at banquets in Liquorland. But then a young liquor scholar is writing stories which he sends to the well-known author Mo Yan for critical evaluation and possible publication. So the story writer sends the story to a real-life person and then the story is inserted into the overall narrative: but the story is about Liquorland and it’s inhabitants and the possible eating of babies. Just to add another layer, characters in the stories themselves tell stories and all the stories assume an aspect of the fictional reality … and then it gets even more intertwined.

Continue reading

Show Me the Money, Donald

GettyImages-578330268_(1)

Standing next to Trump is a man who makes the big bucks grooming dictators

There is a very convincing conspiracy theory being touted over at the Daily Kos in a post by Mark Sumner. Simply put, it demonstrates possible evidence that Donald Trump is a paid operative of Vladimir Putin in an attempt to foment chaos in the United States electoral process. The post is titled

Donald Trump may be acting crazy, but it’s keeping the news away from the one story he wants to bury

Do you think Trump doesn’t dare to release his income tax forms because they would reveal a dangerously high level of monetary remunerations coming from Russia?

Here is the synopsis of the Sumner post:

Continue reading

Hell

images-1.jpgYou may have noticed that I read a lot of literature from Asia, especially Japanese literature. I still have a lot of classic and well thought of titles to go but sometimes I simply select a title solely based on the perceived nationality of the author, whether I know the author or not. Luckily I have seldom been disappointed. So if the author is Japanese, I read the book. One hitch to this technique is that too often nowadays a unfamiliar title turns out to be a Manga and although I have several digital versions of Manga, I’m just not into following a graphic story: Watchman was bad enough.

One type of Japanese literature I do find exciting is the sometimes weird and often scary Japanese mysteries and thrillers. I suppose when you add to a spooky story the elements of a strong tradition of Japanese ghost stories and the somewhat unfamiliar background of Japan and Japanese customs, you get a little magnifying effect and the thrill becomes a real tingler.

There have been a number of classic and contemporary treatments of Hell: Dante is obvious, Barbusse, Palahniuk, and my recent read Hell by Yasutaka Tsutsui.

Continue reading