Showing posts with label media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label media. Show all posts

September 12, 2023

Split screen: Impeachment is all about counter-programming against Georgia trial

By Hal Brown

With House Republicans it's all about egos and eyes.

The clamor to hold impeachment hearings against President Joe Biden is a deafening cacaphony of caca. 

Click to view

Click to read

It's quite a task for people like James Comer and Matt Gaetz to outdo Marjorie Taylor Greene who called for red state succession on the 22nd anniversary of 9/11 for mooning for the media. You may accuse the likes of these Republicans for lots of things but you can't say they are camera shy. You get between them and a camera at your own peril.

Now that Kevin McCarthy has bypassed a House vote (which would go down in defeat) and initiated a House impeachment inquiry (story) it is amusing to watch Greene erupt spewing molten lava like Mt. Kilauea claiming she was pressing for a Biden impeachment inquiry immediately upon taking office: see

Feud erupts between Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz over Biden impeachment.

Still, try as they might media hogs like GOP members of the House Gaetz, Comer, Jim Jordan, Nancy Mace, Lauren Boebert et al, and Tommy Tuberville in the Senate, don't stand a chance of being immortalized in stone. It is Marjorie Taylor Greene who is vying to be sculpted on the Mt. Rushmore of GOP gigantism.

In the coming weeks thanks to Georgia courts allowing live video coverage we can expect compelling, perhaps dramatic, reality TV. The show will be starring well known "celebrities" whose faces are well known like Mark Meadows and Sidney Powell and Kenneth Cheesbro, whose name not his face are familiar. If Trump doesn't get his case removed to federal court, the mega MAGA star Donald Trump, the only defendant who actually has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, will be must-see TV if he's in court, especially if he decides against his lawyers' advice to testify.

He has the star, once defaced and replaced, there, and it is the most prominent attraction:

Ironically, in order to pry eyes away from the trial if Trump is a featured celebrity House Republicans will have to put on a Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey circus extravganza.

This will be a challenge if their center ring attraction is only Hunter Biden. If President Biden testifies (the last president to appear before Congress was Gerald Ford) depending on what's happening in Georgia I can see the GOP winning the ratings rounds for a period of time. MAGAs want to see their GOP heroes make Joe Biden squirm under their barrage of goofball gotcha questions. Lots-a-luck with that. The president doesn't do squirm.

One crazy place to be will be in the control rooms of the major television  networks where directors will have to decide what to feature on the biggest portion of their split screen when interesting things are happening simultaneously. TV hosts and panelists will have to go back and forth as they talk about the House impeachment and the Georgia trial. Complicating all of this will be any other trial involving Trump which may be occurring at the same time but doesn't have live TV coverage.

The only thing that might wipe the political news off the media is a catergory nine earthquake along the San Andreas fault (aka The Big One) which literally wipes out large portions of coastal California, Oregon, and Washington.

August 24, 2023

Moscow murders make Milwaukee murders look lame: Putinym Вот что будет, если трахаться с Путиным


If you don't read Russian you'll have to read the blog to get the translation 
of my title above.

By Hal Brown

By the time I finished watching the season two finale of "Only Murder  in the Building" (see yesterday's blog: Murders in Milwaukee vs. Murders In The Building: What I'll Be Watching Tonight) and turned on the news I learned that when it came to making the news with a dramatic story Putin had won the night.

As you can see from the screen grab of the BBC website above the presumed Putin Prigozhin assassination bumped the GOP debate and Trump's legal troubles off as the top story. I think this is indicatve of the international perspective of what is the most improtant news to cover.

Fox News, in contrast, relegated the story to a minor spot:

The New York Times prioritized the debate story online...
... but dropped it to the very bottom of the print edition front page:
Click above to enlarge image

The Washington did the same with their online and their print editions:

I undertand why local media puts American news on as the top story but I think the Russia story is equally important, an opinion reflected by the editors of the print edtion of The NY Times.

Anyway you look at it, there were two major stories last night.

The plane being shot down came with an amazing video which makes it a compelling story for television.

Click above to view with real life commentary

The caught on video amazing assassination - although one is foolish to be amazed by it - came before the debate and was referred to when Nikki Haley accused Ramaswarmy of "choosing a murderer" for saying supporting Ukraine is not a "priority for the United States."

From the debate:

“Look what Putin did today, he killed Prigozhin,” Nikki Haley, South Carolina’s former governor said Wednesday night during the first Republican party presidential candidate for the 2024 election after being asked how she would respond to the war in Ukraine if she were elected. 

She continued, “When I was at the U.N., the Russian ambassador suddenly died. This guy is a murderer. And you are choosing a murderer over a pro-American country.” Reference.


 U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley landed perhaps the biggest blow against Ramaswamy during a heated exchange over aid to Ukraine. Ramaswamy argued that U.S. support for Ukraine against Russian aggression should be used for defending the U.S. border instead.

“You are choosing a murderer over a pro-American country. ... You would make America less safe. You have no foreign policy experience and it shows. It shows,” Haley said, drawing an eruption of applause from the debate audience. 

The broadside is the closest Haley has come to a breakout moment during the race so far. The former South Carolina governor has struggled to gain traction in early nominating states.

In terms of sheer drama a group of GOP president wannabes shouting over each other watching a plane carrying 10 people presumably including the leader of the Wagner Group and his chief deputy being blown out of the sky and crashing and burning (see more video and photos on Newsweek here) was literally a murder in Moscow (literally somewhere 30 minutes north of Moscow on its way to St. Petersburg).

Not only is this being reported as a murder in Moscow but there is also a possible mystery in Moscow because there are some questions being asked whether Prigozhin himself staged this assassination so he could disappear and live out his life in some safe haven. 

If he managed to do this Putin could probably find him and get rid of him for sheer vengeance but he wouldn't be able to make it public. Although the psychopath would like to look Prigozhin in the eyes telling him that vot chto sluchilos', kogda ty trakhalsya Putinym as he shot or poisoned him he'd have to settle for a live video.

Either way it's a win for Putin. He shows that anyone who dares staging a coup against him is signing their own death warrant and will be subject to a public execution. In fact, this is what it was called on MSNBC's Morning Joe just after I typed these words. They added that it seems more than a coincidence that someone was their to take a video of it as if it was staged for television.

The candidates merely metaphorically murdered, or attempted to murder each other. There was, or might have been, a real murder which demonstrates why President Biden's firm support of Ukraine is vital to democracy.

Ironically, while none of the GOP candidates in the debate won the night it is fair to say that both Biden (thanks to Putin) and Putin himself, albeit in very different ways, can claim to have come out victorious.


I am hearing comments on MSNBC saying that the timing of the crash might be relevant in that it came exactly two months after Prigozhin moved his troops towards the Kremlin. I would suggest that while Putin wanted to "celebrate" the two month anniversary he also might have wanted to provide must-see American counter programming to the GOP debate. If Trump thought his own Tucker interview would be good counter-programming, Putin certainly outdid him.

Afternoon update: 

As far as news: on The Washington Post website the Russia story is on the top of the page, the pending Trump arrest second, and the debate third:

June 25, 2023

Too soon to tell if Russian revolt was a nothing burger, an everything burger, or something in between


Photo of his delicious everything burger by author who is always seeking restaurants and pubs with mouthwatering burgers like the one above.

By Hal Brown

This is a follow-up to yesterday's blog where I took off my shrink's hat and delved into an area where if I actually had degree in foreign policy it would be from Trump University. I titled that blog "Is the Wagner group waging an armed mutiny, a civil war in the making, uprising, a coup, the bringing of the self-destruction of Russia, or a a spurious threat, basically a nothing-burger" which really isn't worth reading today if you missed it.

I was struck by how the media jumped all over the missing Titanic sub with near constant coverage of four rich men and the unfortunate son (who didn't really want to go) facing death. I compared this to how the Baby Jessica in the well story and the Thai soccer team trapped in the cave stories captured worldwide attention.

This Russia story was both riveting and of major international significance. It received well-deserved extensive media coverage... except on Fox News online.

This morning pundits who actually have expertise in the subject are trying to explain what this all means. The chyron under the stories about this on MSNBC reads "Aftermath of Armed Revolt Inside Russia."

On that channel John Brennan, former CIA director, and retired admiral James Stavidis, and former ambassadors to Russia Michael McFaul and Jane Harmon, among others are explaining what this all may mean for the fate of Putin and Ukraine.

As someone whose expertise lies elsewhere I am ill equipped to pontificate on this, or predict what it may portend. I am fascinated by way two characters, both ruthless warlords who could be in a novel or TV series can hold sway over the outcome of a war. Game of Thrones, which I never watched has been mentioned, with a pundit saying that the
moral of this story is that if you try to kill the king you'd best succeed, or else.


So you don't have to look at Fox News online, this is what they think is important today:

Even Breitbart leads with the Russia story:

Here's the MSNBC website...

and The Washington Post, The New York Times, and CNN:

Adendum: By chance this was the ad that was on HUFFPOST when I looked at it (ON LOWER RIGHT)

I just had to do a little photo-manipulation:

Updates: It is worth noting a few points David Ignatius made in his Washington Post column (subscription): 

Putin looked into the abyss Saturday — and blinked

"This was a real coup, until it wasn’t."

  • President Vladimir Putin looked into the abyss Saturday and blinked. After vowing revenge for what he called an “armed mutiny,” he settled for a compromise.
  • The speed with which Putin backed down suggests that his sense of vulnerability might be higher even than analysts believed. Putin might have saved his regime Saturday, but this day will be remembered as part of the unraveling of Russia as a great power — which will be Putin’s true legacy.
  • This was a real coup, until it wasn’t...
  • Only madmen jump into the abyss in situations like this, and neither Putin nor Prigozhin is crazy. This was like a game of chicken where both cars swerve in the end, or a duel where both fighters shoot in the air, to fight another day.  
  • It was a close shave, not a decapitation.

  • What comes next, surely, is more trouble for Putin in Ukraine. Prigozhin told the truth flat out in the days before his march on Moscow. Ukraine didn’t threaten Russia, and Russia’s invasion was unnecessary — a mistake of epic proportions. Even Putin, the ice man, can’t freeze the burning truth of his Ukraine disaster.

MSNBC is covering the Russia story exclusively. I did what I hardly ever do and tuned into Fox News to see what they were broadcasting. They are covering a variety of other news:

If you don't see Disquis (the preferred comment feature) below, click here and scroll down.

December 17, 2022

Pictures that say 1000 words

Pictures That Say 1000 Words

By Hal Brown

Archives on Right >

Background from InPixio, Hal Brown

Updated Dec. 19: 

As Elon Musk and Donald Trump compete for headlines with their self-defeating bizarre behavior I watch how editors decide to illustrate their stories. Today I found a opening page story for  Elon Musk Posts Twitter Poll Asking If He Should Step Down As CEO on HUFFPOST. It is no longer the top of the page story so you can't the it online the way I did.

It fits right in with the theme of the following story. Of all the photos of Musk they could have used they found one where his gaze was directed upward as if he was looking at the headline. For posterity, here it is:

Click above to enlarge

The symbolism of this above photo was lost when the story moved down the page because while his gave was up the title was under the much smaller photo. It happens to be to the left of another Musk article which happens to be about Mastodon which is the platform I now am active on.

Below is my original blog story:

This was the top story on the HUFFPOST website this morning linking to this article:

I don't know whether it was an actual photograph of was photoshopped and made into a dark silhouette. 

I did a Google Image search and found the photo was used several times before:

Click above to enlarge

It is credited to Justin Sullivan of Getty Images. It was used in this article among others:

Whether it was photoshopped or not I think the black background was added because most people who are photographed have a background behind them.

As I write this the top of the site article on HUFFPOST is about Trump's malevolent doppelgänger Elon Musk for this article. It isn't nearly as dramatic as the Trump illustration:

I would guess that the black background  was also added to replace whatever was in the background of the photograph to make it more dramatic but I can't prove it.

I would characterize the photo of Musk as not particularly flattering but not appearing as obnoxious as he does in some of the photos published of him.

When the Musk article was no longer the lead story and moved down the page this is the Photoshopped image HUFFPOST used which shows him as looking ominous:

A Google Image search shows the first photo being credited to Jim Watson of Getty Images. It has been used frequently:

For example, it was used to illustrate a New York Times June 9, 2022 article.
There are so many photos of Trump and Musk showing such a range of emotions for editors to choose from to illustrate articles. Editors do not decide which to use by accident. 

Generally the photos we see of people in the public eye come with some kind of copyright protection and there is a legal gray area about how they can be republished. On this blog I often use the amazing Photoshop manipulated images made by DonkeyHotey since they are free to use as long as you give him his well deserved credit.

I used two of them in this blog story:

I took the photo HUFFPOST used and with BeFunky made it look like this:

With InPixo I made this with Jan van Eyck's Crucifixion and Last Judgement diptych from Wikipedia as a background.

December 12, 2022

The normalizing of delusional sociopathic grandiose narcissism

 The normalizing of delusional sociopathic grandiose narcissism
By Hal Brown

Archives on Right >

Select comments may be shared here. 

I was a practicing psychotherapist for 40 years before retiring, the first 20 of those I work as the director of a small mental health center. I have posted numerous articles online about the dangerous psychopathology of Donald Trump. 

There are myriad examples of people in the news who demonstrate by their behavior, their actions and words, that they, to put it bluntly, have one or all of their hinges so loose that if they were the door on the jam it would be hanging and about to fall.

Creative Commons Flickr

I don't have to tax my brain by coming up with a list of clinically deranged people in public life. Just a look at the stories on various websites will provide many examples. A Salon article by one of my favorite columnists, Amanda Marcotte, this morning offers a list of five:

Of course these five are just losers even though Trump could actually become president again. We still have winners like Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Loren Boebert who are still in the House and now that the GOP controls it have even more power.

From Elon Musk whose unhingedness knows no bounds as he just yesterday tweeted "My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci, a sentiment supported by said Rep. Greene who is saying that if she was in charge of the January 6th attack on the Capitol the crowd would have been armed (something that could end her in front of a grand jury), to Ye and Herschel Walker (who I wrote about here) 

There are enough people to be analyzed for in a PhD dissertation titled "Abnormal psychology as manifest in people in public life."

In some ways it is more disturbing to know that there are so many ordinary citizens who embrace the Big Lie and the conspiracy lunacy of QAnon. There are uncountable millions people not just in this country but around the world who, if objectively assessed by mental health professionals, would be diagnosed with one or more psychiatric conditions listed in the DSM-5.
There are several hundred diagnostic categories in the DSM  and new ones are periodically added, for example:

  • Binge Eating Disorder.
  • Caffeine Withdrawal.
  • Cannabis Withdrawal.
  • Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder.
  • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder- DMDD.
  • Hoarding Disorder.
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder – PMDD.
 "According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about one in five adults lives with a mental disorder (any mental illness in the US, and about one in 18 American adults has a serious mental illness. Some psychiatric conditions may be temporary, occur occasionally, and never return again." Reference includes entire list.

It should be obvious that most people with psychiatric disorders actually suffer, thus the term "suffering from" one or another disorder. There are other people who don't suffer themselves. They make  people in their lives including family, friends, and co-workers, suffer. Just consider the number of books about being married to a narcissist.

Of all of these the two most relevant disorders to consider when looking at the people I am writing about are what is now called antisocial personality disorder but is often referred to by the previous name, sociopathic disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder. Some people meet enough of the criteria for having both and would be considered to be malignant narcissists. This diagnosis never made it into then DSM but in my opinion and the opinion of many mental health professionals including, notably, Dr. John D. Gartner, the founder of the Duty to Warn society, Donald Trump has this disorder. Gartner wrote about this in 2017:
If any single person could be described as causing an extreme and dangerous mental pathology as becoming normalized it is Donald Trump.

Gartner is, as far as I know, the only mental health professional critical of Trump to appear on Fox News. In 2017 he was on "Watters World" in an interview which, to put it mildly, did not go well. Here's the video:

Full disclosure: Dr. Gartner and I have had a relationship since the formation of his Duty to Warn society. 

Currently the media, with some notable exceptions like MSNBC which regularly has clinical psychologist Mary Trump on and others experts discussing Donald Trump, reports the behavior of Trump and people like those mentioned above as if it is normal. 

I have followed the media closely since 2017 to see whether any mainstream publications addressed the issue of public figures like Trump, Taylor-Greene, Herschel Walker by interviewing mental health experts. 

Salon stands out for having Chauncey DeVega who often publishes interviews with mental health experts like psychiatrist Lance Dodes like "Trump is a dangerous sociopath — but he's sane enough to stand trial" and Psychiatrist Bandy Lee says White House officials told her Trump was "unraveling".

Of course, Salon with its progressive slant, can't be considered mainstream the way USA Today can. As far as I have been able to tell USA Today is the only widely circulated publication to publish a story about Trump's dangerous psychopathology.

It is about time that the mainstream media, including publications that the far right fringe considers to be fake news like The New York Times and The Washington Post, have regular columnists who are mental health experts who can analyze the behavior of public figures based on their knowledge of personality.

It is about time dangerous psychopathology stops being normalized by the media. It must be called out for what it is.

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