(UR) United States — After two years with nary a mention from the mainstream press, the corporate windfall otherwise known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) finally earned some, albeit still inadequate, attention.
Considering a New York Times poll from June 2015, which found an alarming 78 percent of respondents had no substantial knowledge of the looming agreement — 30 percent said they hadn’t heard or read much about it, while 48 percent had zero knowledge of it whatsoever — the dearth in coverage by mainstream media allowed the TPP to go virtually unnoticed by the public it directly affects.
From August 1, 2013 through January 31, 2015, Media Matters for America tracked how often the TPP earned a mention from the Big Three major cable news outlets: CNN, Fox, and MSNBC. During that lengthy period, CNN and Fox acknowledged the TPP just one time each — and while MSNBC appeared more on the ball, with 73 mentions, the now-canceled The Ed Show was responsible for 71 of those.
While it might seem remiss, if not wholly irresponsible, for such an expansive international trade agreement to escape the mainstream media’s attention, the omission wasn’t unintentional.
As Zaid Jilani explained in the Intercept:
“MSNBC’s owner, Comcast, has lobbied for the TPP. Last year, it fired host Ed Schultz, an outspoken opponent of the agreement.
“Time Warner, the parent company of CNN owner Turner Broadcasting, also lobbied for the TPP. 21st Century Fox — the legal successor to News Corporation, which operates Fox News — lobbied for passage as well.
“But using the television transcription service TV Eyes, The Intercept found that during the month of July 2016 alone, the TPP was mentioned 455 times by CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC — about six times as often as during the entire 18-month period studied by Media Matters.”
Those mentions, most assuredly, demonstrate progress in bringing light to the shady deal; but, with the exceptions of The Ed Show and Bernie Sanders and his supporters, the content has been generalized, rather than substantive, as a component of the presidential election. Donald Trump frequently decries the TPP as unacceptable and undesirable, though — in typical form — his tirades lack a depth of explanation.
As revealed in documents obtained by Wikileaks and reported by independent media, the TPP is nothing short of a grand corporate coup — some have even termed the measure ‘NAFTA on steroids,’ for its resemblance, exponentially, to the North American Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA notoriously facilitated the ability for manufacturers to seek lower-wage workers outside the United States with little restriction — leaving at leastone million skilled workers without employment, while lining the pockets of countless big businesses.
Now, the TPP promises to do more of the same — with countless nefarious additional provisions that go far beyond the manufacturing sector to directly impact the lives of every person in the U.S. And that, in itself, summarizes precisely why the pending trade agreement has been negotiated covertly, with secrecy normally provided only to matters of utmost national security.
But perhaps even the shallow attention brought to the TPP by the presidential election has sparked curiosity sufficient enough for the public to begin to question its efficacy.
As David Dayen wrote in Salon:
“Here’s one of the best indicators that Congress won’t approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership: business groups are running a public campaign in support of it. I know that sounds like a paradox, but if the image of the TPP weren’t so tattered, there would be no need for such an overt PR campaign.”
Image credit: Flickr/DonkeyHotey
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A CNN segment on Tuesday was abruptly shut down when a guest brought up Hillary Clinton’s defense of a child rapist, and subsequent bragging about doing so despite his guilt.
Clinton portrays herself as a champion of women and children, especially girls, but there was one 12-year-old girl who argues to the contrary — the victim of the 1975 rape case. During the trial, the victim, who has never been named, claims Clinton “took her through hell” while lying and attacking her.
“I have been informed that the complainant is emotionally unstable with a tendency to seek out older men and engage in fantasizing,” Clinton, then named Hillary D. Rodham, wrote in an affidavit during the trial. “I have also been informed that she has in the past made false accusations about persons, claiming they had attacked her body. Also that she exhibits an unusual stubbornness and temper when she does not get her way.”
Later, tapes were uncovered in which Clinton could be heard laughing about the fact that her client was actually guilty, saying, “he took a lie detector test. I had him take a polygraph, which he passed, which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs.” She also explained on the tapes that investigators had lost a section of the victim’s underwear that contained her blood.
Had this been from the past of any other candidate, it is highly likely that CNN would have pounced all over it from the beginning. As host Carol Costello demonstrated on Tuesday however, this specific issue is off limits at their network.
Appearing on “CNN Newsroom With Carol Costello,” Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg, who is a supporter of Donald Trump, decided to go there.
“When you get one-on-one, especially if it’s Hillary, Donald Trump will go places nobody is willing to go — where the media at this point isn’t willing to go: Bringing up Clinton’s women who say they were intimidated by Hillary. Having them come forward and speak. A litany of issues that you can’t even imagine,” Malzberg stated.
Costello interrupted, saying “I’m thinking that might not be a winning argument for Donald Trump right at this moment.” Another guest, Judson Phillips, who supports Cruz, then agreed with her.
“Sure it will,” Malzberg replied.
“How many derogatory things has he said about women? His negatives among women are 75 percent right now,” Phillips asserted. Trump is “not going to make that up. There is no way that he can win.”
“Do you know how many young women in this country don’t even know that Bill Clinton was impeached? No, maybe they’ve heard of Monica Lewinsky. They don’t know the women that have accused Bill Clinton of sexual improprieties and that say they have been threatened and intimidated by Hillary Clinton,” Malzberg fired back.
“A girl who was raped by a pedophile that Hillary Clinton bragged about getting off,” Malzberg began until being cut off.
“Oh, come on,” Costello interuppted.
“Wait, let me finish,” Malzberg said.
“No, no, no,” Costello replied.
“What do you mean? You don’t want to hear it? That Hillary Clinton is on tape bragging about, as a lawyer getting off on a technicality. That woman now says, ‘Hillary ruined my life.’ That’s not fair,” Malzberg asked.
Costello then ended the entire segment abruptly and prevented either guest from expressing any final thoughts.
“I’m going to leave it there, Goodbye. Thanks for joining me,” she said.
Nearly a week after the first televised Democratic Party debate, CNN has finally released a new poll showing the effect of the candidate performances on potential voters. And while there has been much discussion about the overwhelming discrepancies between online polling data, which showed Bernie Sanders as the clear favorite among people that watched the debate, and the results of standard polls, what we know now is that Hillary Clinton was indeed chosen as the clear winner of the debate…by people who didn’t actually watch the debate.
According to the random national poll released today by CNN, Hillary still holds a commanding 20-point-plus lead over Sanders amongst potential Democratic primary voters (56% to 33%). The CNN polling questions reflect an overall impression that Sanders, who gained much-needed visibility, saw a slight increase in almost every category, while Hillary remained uninspiring with her “likeability” score still mired below 50%.
But looking past the first few pages of the CNN results document shows that the poll itself is no more scientific or accurate than all of the online polls which were discounted by the mainstream media as biased or selective.
Of the 1,028 Americans contacted by phone after the debate to respond to the CNN poll questions, only 31% of respondents actually watched the debate, with another 31% saying that they neither watched the debate or hadn’t seen any coverage of it either.
In addition, almost two-thirds of those contacted to take the poll were reached via a landline, which is an even more narrow a demographic skew than those who vote for polls online.
Sadly, these numbers only point to the truth that Hillary Clinton is the overwhelming choice of older uninformed voters. But the larger issue is that political pundits and their media overlords will continue to decry “new media” and any polling not done by calling people on their house phone between 7pm and 8pm, as somehow less valid than a digital poll.
All polling has a margin of error for a reason. But at some point the larger question must be asked…is CNN calling 1,000 people at home who mostly ignored the debate, an accurate way to find out who 200 million potential voters thought won the debate? And is the polling process even more selective and corrupt than the political process?
James Woods ( AKA – JamesFromTheInternet) is an independent journalist based in New York City who can be reached on twitter @JamesFTInternet or via email: email@example.com