47 Comments
Jan 5Liked by Thom Hartmann

A superb column stating what is obvious to those of us with brains, common sense and who care about our country and the world, and will never be seen or, if seen, believed by those who should be reading it. While not poor, I am not rich either. I am in that upper middle class group TFG and the GQP are killing. Because we are too intelligent and too moral. Many of us are what would have been the liberal Republicans of the Sixties. Now, we are regarded as little better than Communists.

Why? Because in this country and the world, there is now only one real god--money. And only one worthwhile activity--getting as much as possible, by any means fair or foul, though preferably foul, to rip off fools like me. My late father-in-law, a Greek immigrant, star football player at Michigan, corpsman with Patton from North Africa to the end of WWII and a gifted, successful general surgeon afterward, shared with me a loathing for the morbidly rich. And he knew them. The island he came from also birthed Onassis and Niarchos.

The plutocracy is killing us, literally, morally, and spiritually. Since Citizens United, it has run utterly wild, dark money destroying everything good or that could be good. It may well be that only a cataclysm of the sort Marx envisioned will stand a chance of rectifying things. But that will entail a hideous and terrible cost, with no assurance something better will emerge.

I became one of your subscribers even though each time I read you my bleakness grows. Because facts not only have a liberal bias, but they are utterly glum in the stories they tell about us. I fear the problem isn’t the plutocrats, the GQP, or TFG and his cult. It is our species, a plague on ourselves and the planet. I mourn for my adorable grandson, the center and light of my life, whom I have co-parented with my wife and his Mom since the day he was born. Despite all the joy he has brought us, I wish he had never been born, because while I will be dead very soon, he faces a dystopian future from which no amount of help or preparation on our part will save him. Because I think we have reached peak humanity, and when our species stumbles into self-immolation, as I expect it will during his likely to be short life, the planet and any surviving life forms will be the better for it. That belief is what your columns reinforce for me each time I read one. We are beyond salvation, and the tragedy is that it need not have been that way.

Please keep fighting. I am too feeble and incapacitated to do more than write comments like these, send small checks to help those unable to help themselves, and vote. As a Californian, that last one matters very little. In a swing state it would mean something. But I always vote anyway, and always will.

Maybe one of our progressive billionaires (oxymoron?) will take a hint from you, and fund a network of “local” news media in swing states providing honest, real news to people to counter the pink slime. Somehow I doubt it. Because short of a nuclear holocaust, they will survive whatever our election produces, and they know that. Regardless, we must continue the struggle, because doing otherwise is not, cannot be an option.

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I am a retired journalist. Starting in the 1980s, I worked for a small group of community newspapers in the Boston suburbs. We were bought up by Fidelity Investment Group, along with a slew of small papers that ringed Boston — the aim {stated to me outright by someone who was involved in the enterprise} was to create a group-buy opportunity for large and national advertisers, allowing them to reach the Boston suburbs without paying for expensive ads in the Globe {or the Herald, I guess, but the person who talked to me about it specified the Globe}. The group bought papers from Cape Cod to Cape Ann and remade the community newspaper landscape in that part of Massachusetts.

As a personal note, I was never asked to skew my reporting, but changes made to the office environment and policies did drive a good number of us out of the group {I had to challenge them for unemployment benefits, and won my challenge, on those grounds}.

BUT, during an election season soon after the papers were purchased, the publishers penned an editorial in the local Sharon Advocate endorsing someone OTHER than the local {and somewhat liberal} Favorite Son, and other media picked up that the man’s “own hometown newspaper” had come out against him. I had moved away by then, but people I knew in town were enraged that such a thing happened, as the whole town had long been staunchly supportive of this activist and locally-supportive individual. The publishers even moved the paper’s offices away from the center of town and effectively lost touch with the populace…

The person who engineered this “ring the city” enterprise outside of Boston later came to Vermont to pretty much do the same thing — buy up {as they stated in Mass}, small local papers, create a group, and re-do in Vermont what they’d done around Boston. I don’t think it worked. I wrote for a group of local business journals at the time, and did not want to work for her AT ALL in any capacity, so I went on to write elsewhere. I don’t think those business journals are even publishing any more. I hope that is because the people of Vermont, living in very small and close communities, were not as easy to bamboozle, but that is just my perspective…. What you write here, Mr. Hartmann, rings SO true. I have been really careful on this note to say things I can back up with data and fact. The papers I talk about were not out there peddling lies and calumny, nor were they “pink slime.” But they were bought up and effectively changed the editorial landscape of the region to suit the new corporate publishers, no longer reflecting the voice of the towns in which they published. {OH, one of the incidents that drove ME away occurred when the over-arching Editor in Chief of our group tried to publish a letter to the editor that she’d cut down, leaving in praise of the new ownership, but excising criticism. It skewed the intentions of the letter writer, and as managing editor of the paper, I removed the letter and placed a house ad on the page. The Executive Editor was pretty angry, but I wrote a note to the publisher that Fidelity had put in place, telling her I could not countenance such behavior in my newspaper, not even from their Editor in Chief — it was the beginning of the end for me, even though the publisher asked me over and over to stay.}

What you say here, sir, is part and parcel of how our media has been devalued and nearly destroyed.

It’s even scary to write this factual and defensible note of clear and unambiguous truth in one little corner of the world.

We need to help people understand what they are dealing with — finding ways to VALIDATE good journalism is going to be harder, when it is surrounded by so much of this ….

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I agree that these media outlets are bad noise that people need to sort through, and mostly don't. I do not consider any of the publications you named as on the left as being on the left. Workers World, that is a leftist publication, not NPR. I think that the dichotomy set up with the Democrats as the Left, is taking on a Republican moniker. Dems are centrist. I know what leftist is, not only did we have Spartacist League, Workers World, are true leftist publications. I also am given these sorts of publications by a childhood friend of my mom's in Germany, who belongs to Die Linke, the German leftist party. So, what Democrats represent is fairly mainstream center, perhaps some are left of center, and what Republicans currently represent is not center right, but extreme right. I agree that Reagan and Clinton did destroy our media with their allowing it to be owned by just anyone, who can publish just anything. Here is an American ex-pat living in Germany who is discussing the difference in media in Germany and the USA. It helps to keep Germany democratic that there is still belief in the media. https://youtu.be/jphacgBLrc0?si=fLxumoDld1uACs2W

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Jan 5·edited Jan 5

"The Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1956) or What !?!

Where are people's heads, that they permit themselves to be suckered and gaslit by billionaires and con-persons into, becoming the planet's biggest losers.

Electing the proffered Republican bimbos, dimwits, and bozos (i.e., orange Jesus & Co.) is not unlike putting curdled milk in the fridge overnight, then chugging a pint of this now "dangerously" sour, beyond lumpy milk next morning on the engendered belief that it's magically become fresh.

Fresh? How, you ask. . . . Because "The Pink Slime Intelligencer-Bee-Post" says so, is how, dad-gummit !!!

Bloody zombies.

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"Apparently, there’s something about conservatives the world over that makes them believe the only way they can win elections or sway public opinion is by lying to people and deceiving them..."

This is the crux of all of our political problems and has been for some time now. The constant lying and misinformation given to people on the right by their "leaders" may be one of the worst "features" about them. I STILL find it difficult to believe that there were/are people out there who believe that Hillary Clinton, in some black dominatrix pants-suit, I assume, was running a child sex trafficking ring out of the basement of a pizza parlor in DC that has no basement. People TRULY believed this! The idea was so ridiculous on its face, without ANY research at all, that I thought it was a story that would just slide off into the ether, until that guy with a gun showed up to "save the children." And go ahead and make the bet that there are still some people IN CONGRESS that believe this story, in addition to the many other conspiracy theories, lies, misinformation, and whatever else the right-wing can push out to get votes. Ugh!

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It would not surprise me if most of that right-wing gaslight is rarely read by anyone. Unsolicited news flyers that pop into my mailbox are tossed into the garbage with all the other junk mail I get. Unknown is how much of this noise gets read by gullible people with limited critical reasoning abilities - aka MAGAs. My impression from chatting with MAGAs and watching interviews with them is that they do not read - they watch. Their news comes from Fox News, Musk-X, Alex Jones, Gateway Pundit, the Drudge Report - if even that. For them the news is choir practice. It is not learning what is going on outside the city limits of Trythatinasmalltown. If I am correct, the billionaires are wasting their money. Sure hope so.

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I've run across a few of these agitprop papers and they're exactly as reported. I look at one and ask myself, "does anybody actually believe this crap?", and the answer is, yes they do. Now, I've met some dumb-bunny leftists in my time, but the gullibility of Average Jane & Joe conservatives is amazing! I can't believe some of the horse-dung they will buy into. Makes the guy who sold the Brooklyn Bridge look like a piker. And a lot of it is that the Right is focussed exclusively on getting money and power, while the Left & Centrists are trying to do the right thing (as they see it) rather than money grubbing. It makes a BIG DIFFERENCE!!!

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Jesus put it out best that lies come from the father of all lies. The glee that right wing conservatives are happy to use lies for their false purposes should make any honest person understand the horrors coming from this house and the damage it continues to do to society. As in the past the Church is not working against this evil but ignorant and or even part of the problem themselves.

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Is there no sleazy, corrupt , ghastly act these Magas won’t stoop to . Uh, No.

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Because I have that angel on one shoulder and devil on the other thing, I am still smirking about this Report.

First of all, the facts in it are right out of the GOP's Bannon/Stone dirty-tricks-bag that never ceases to amaze. Angel's take: these perpetrators are the ones that will rot in hell, if there is a hell.

Devil's take: people on the right hate us so much they have chosen the biggest liars of all time to represent them. Do they not deserve to be ripped-off? Trump keeps reciting his personalized version of "The Snake" poem, then he and HIS politicians just keep biting them.

Should we tell them who is stealing from them and how the money goes for pricey lifestyles? At least it isn't being used for ads.

Fabulous fabulist Report, Thom.

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Please share this with all democratic campaigns. Democrats have to get the word out about the corruption of the republican party. While at the same time, sticking to topics of concerns in peoples lives! Democrats get slammed by the media. When The truth about who is really lying and cheating is not getting out!

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This comment says it all. If left-leaning billionaires really meant what they claim to believe they would rival the right wing billionaires with thir own truth speaking publications and get them to the people who need to hear it.

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I inherited bales and bales of "Spotlight." I think I have burned a lot of them, but sometimes I wonder, are they valuable cultural artifacts? Any Hartmann folks review writing "Mid Century Modern" authoritarian panic literature?

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