New Post on Dangerous Intersection

I’ve written a new post on Dangerous Intersection, “John McCain bribes the media; the media accepts“. Here’s an excerpt:

In some of my previous posts both here on Dangerous Intersection and on Daylight Atheism, I’ve done my best to call attention to the corrupt, degraded state of most of today’s major news-gathering organizations. But a story I read today is truly the most astonishing example yet – both in the way the mainstream media has totally abandoned basic principles of journalistic ethics and integrity, and in the way they brazenly flaunt that behavior.

Last weekend, U.S. presidential candidate John McCain invited reporters to his vacation home in Arizona for a barbecue. McCain’s aides and staffers explained that the weekend was intended as a “social event” – i.e., no questions about McCain’s campaign strategy, voting record, or political positions – and was therefore off the record. When some reporters objected, McCain’s staff agreed that the weekend would be on the record after all, but only on the condition that reporters brought no audio or video recording equipment. The reporters meekly acceded to this, and that was the extent of our brave press corps’ journalistic heroism.

To see more, click through and read the rest.

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About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, City of Light, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Christopher

    I’m not surpirsed at all: the media is a lapdog for anyone who has the prestige and cash to buy them off. For all their talk about “honesty” in journalism, they frequently ignore the most critical issues (foreign troops crossing into U.S borders, citizens enforcing order alone, the fragile state of the dollar, etc…) at the becken call of special interests who want those things downplayed – and instead bring us the car chases and burning buildings to get the ratings.

    Just like the government, I’ve lost faith in the press as well: it seems like the blogroll is the only element of “free” press in our nation anymore…

  • Ric

    That’s right, Christopher (though I hope you were kidding about “becken call”). The web is the last bastion of actual free press. The mainstream media is entirely corporate controlled.

  • MisterDomino

    Apathy and general lack of interest in real events might have much to do with this. I honestly know many people who have never touched a newspaper in their lives. Your average Joe Schmoe doesn’t want to hear how his dollar is worth less every day; he wants to hear the details of Heath Ledger’s funeral and who’s in the next round of “American Idol.”

    The corporate media organizations reflect this sentiment. They are no longer “journalists” in the sense that my father or his father, or even the Founding Fathers understood the term. They pander to the masses, and the masses want entertainment, which is exactly what they feed them.

    The upside to this has already been mentioned: more and more people are getting their news from the Internet. Though all you bloggers out there take care not to descend down that same dark path!

  • Jeff T.

    I think it is ironic that the same media quoted one of Obama’s advisors ‘off the record’ comments which led to the advisor’s resignation.

    I don’t have a problem with people having social events and blowing off steam, I just have a problem with the entire political process of the US. I guess I am bitter that I voted for Gore who got the majority of the vote and still lost due to the Judiciary Branch taking over the ‘democratic process’.

    I mean seriously, if the Democrats cannot even handle their primary properly (case/point— Florida/Michigan delegate fiasco) then how do you expect them to handle other aspects of government.

    McCain is getting my vote, if I even bother to vote, because of his service to the Country while a Captain in the USN and a POW who didn’t compromise his honor. The rest of the qualifications are immaterial in my opinion because each of the 3 Candidates are currently Senators and therefore are all responsible for the Nation’s current economic and political crisis. That is why I didn’t summarily dismiss Ellen Johnson’s recommendation for AA to not vote at all—it is just an illusion anyway.

  • Christopher


    “That’s right, Christopher (though I hope you were kidding about “becken call”).”

    Nope – that’s no joke: I really see most of the media as being agents that serve the interests of other parties.

  • Nes

    I think he was politely pointing out your incorrect word usage: unless you were making a joke, you most likely meant “beck and call”.

  • Oz

    I am shocked – shocked! – to learn that there might be corruption in the political process or the media.

  • mikespeir

    I wonder if it’s even possible to get elected without pulling these kinds of shenanigans.

    I, too, will be voting for McCain. First, I tend toward the conservative myself. But as much as anything, I want to see conservatism and the Republican party ripped from the grip of Fundamentalist/Evangelical Christianity. I’m afraid that if Obama or Clinton gets in there will be a resurgence of far, far right conservatism in the Republican party.

  • Ingersoll’s Revenge

    Honestly speaking, though, the media in the United States has always been partisan. This goes all the way back to the Election of 1800, when local papers lined up to duke it out with editorials and endorsements, Federalist against Republican.

    Newspapers being tools of political ambition is nothing new; I think the problem lies in media trusts. No one person or organization should have control of multiple media outlets, especially if that’s all that is available in a certain area. I recently read Michael P. Malone’s The Battle for Butte: Mining and Politics on the Northern Frontier, 1864-1906, which describes how men like Marcus Daly and William Clark bought up multiple newspapers in Butte, Montana to wage political warfare on one another. This left little room for objective opinion, especially in an area as isolated as Montana.

    Couple this with a medium such as television, which requires very little critical thought or action on behalf of the viewer (if any at all) and you have a recipe for tyranny.

  • random guy

    McCain, seriously? I know he was a tortured POW some forty odd years ago, but with all due respect what the hell does that have to do with his ability to fix the problems of this country today? Thats like saying I’m voting for Obama because he is a successful black man, everything else is immaterial.

    And as far as compromising his honor, this is a man who two years ago argued against the Military Commission Act because he said it would legalize torture in America. After he gave an impassioned speech condemning the Act, what did he do? He voted for it anyway, because the GOP said to.

    I respected McCain in 2000, but since then hes done nothing but become another tool of the corrupt, incompetent, GOP establishment. I don’t like Clinton, I don’t want her to be president (I’d prefer Obama), but I’d vote for her just to get four years of non-right wing judge appointments, and competent government staffing. I want to know that my president doesn’t think evolution is debatable when staffing the DoE. I don’t want people like John Hagee anywhere near the white house. At the very least I can get that out of Clinton.

  • Ebonmuse

    On topic, John McCain has also gone on record as saying that America is a “Christian nation”.

  • Jeff T.


    Very true. All three of them are courting their religious faith as a positive thing and the public is eating it up. I cannot understand why people find faith to be an indicator of morality or even a desirable quality. I would rather see leaders making decisions by using their heads, not their knees.

    Random guy,

    That is a valid point. I haven’t looked at that issue and I was referring specifically to the Vietnam POW when I referenced honor. I am 100% against torture, although even Ebon has justified it in some circumstances.

    Back to the media being bribed. In my opinion the media is nothing more than another corporate money making machine that lost the meaning of the word ‘objectivity’ many decades ago.

  • Valhar2000

    Jeff T.:

    In my opinion the media is nothing more than another corporate money making machine that lost the meaning of the word ‘objectivity’ many decades ago.

    It is particularly apt of you to say that in light of this:

    So how did they taste?

    Objectivity prohibits a good reporter from passing judgement, but let’s put it this way: everyone wants to come back.

    Yes; babbling incompetence at its good, old fashioned, all american finest.