New York Times Mentions Big Light in Sky. See ‘Fashion’ Section, p. 23.
(TPP Text Finally Made Public Yesterday; Nothing to See here, Folks.)
The attitude that politics doesn’t matter seems nearly universal sometimes. Big shrug from you, maybe? I won’t hold it against you. Scratching out a living is tougher than ever, and ignoring things that aren’t screaming in your face is simply a survival instinct. Also, part of the equation is that many powerful entities are quite happy to keep you disinterested, and are making sure of it by delivering an ever-increasing stream of useless information shamefully labeled “news” that helps foster this attitude that not a damned bit of it matters, that nothing ever changes, that it’s all just another 24-hour news cycle, that today is just the same as yesterday, and tomorrow will be exactly the same as today.
The New York Times has unfortunately gone over to the dark side, and mostly completed its transition from journalistic riches to rag by doing what most mainstream media outlets have done– tell you little of substance about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) while very occasionally repeating some of the generic selling points coming from the major corporate interests that are behind it. They’re not completely lost, however, and did one good thing this past week– they published an excellent series of articles on Arbitration.
Stacking the Deck of Justice (First of Three Articles)
Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Robert Gebeloff. New York Times. Oct. 31, 2015
. . . clauses buried in tens of millions of contracts have deprived Americans of one of their most fundamental constitutional rights: their day in court.
Having done this, it would be a beautiful and magical thing for the Times to connect the dots and follow up with an exposé on how THE TPP IS ALL ABOUT ARBITRATION ON A GLOBAL SCALE. Almost every article critical of the TPP expresses grave concern over the Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS), which essentially gives corporate interests the ability to avoid U.S. courts by sending disputes to arbitration. Maybe there’s a series of full-spread articles just about to be published by the Times, that will help to make up for their many months of lousy / minimal coverage. That would be great.
On the other hand, if the New York Times decides to continue with their minimization of the TPP, I would suggest visiting Public Citizen, Naked Capitalism, or the Intercept to see what the Times is not telling you about that big light streaking across the sky.
On Friday, the NYT very conveniently published yet another article demonstrating how they are promoting the TPP. Obama Pushes New Pacific Trade Pact Ahead of Asia Trip. Peter Baker. Nov. 13, 2015
If you want to sell some rusty old wheezer of a used car or other lemon while camouflaging your article as “news,” Peter Baker hits all the right notes–
- Don’t mention the particulars of the thing itself. Just focus on what people are saying. (“I love the color!” says Debby. “Such a sweet set of wheels!” says Tony.)
- Name as many distinguished, well known public figures who endorse the thing as you can.
- Minimize arguments against by rephrasing. Convert “TPP will harm the environment and U.S. workers” into “TPP won’t do enough good, . . .”
- Keep critics anonymous, and label them as fringe. With one exception, however, of specifically naming critics that are guaranteed to have negative reputations with your audience. In this case, Donald Trump and Rand Paul. (Really, Peter? Of all the people and organizations critical of the TPP, you name these guys?)
- If you absolutely must mention one or more key public figures who stand in opposition, or otherwise the game will be revealed, minimize them; name them only in passing, bury their names in the middle, and absolutely do not include any quotes or specific arguments they make. Yup, the main Democratic candidates for President, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, both oppose the TPP. End of statement. No quotes, no arguments, no explanation. Move along, folks, nothing more to see here.
- Avoid at all costs bringing up the real criticisms that will get you in trouble. In this case, ARBITRATION via ISDS.
- Repeatedly serve the Cream-O-Goop, pro-TPP talking points as often as you can throughout the article.
Well done, Peter Baker and the New York Times.