Posted by: quiscus | June 10, 2012

June 10, 2012

1. “America’s Student Loan Racket

Few understand what they’ll face. Colleges recruit students aggressively. Financial aid is touted. Fine print language is a “minefield” to understand.

Some are written in a manner that suggests the student is getting a great deal, by blurring the line between grants and loans or not making clear how much the student may have to pay or borrow.”

What’s portrayed as “doable” and “normal,” in fact, becomes onerous and unmanageable. Annual tuition increases aren’t factored in. Neither is inflation and high interest rates.

College admissions staff don’t explain. “While there are standardized disclosure forms for buying a car or a house or even signing up for a credit card, no such thing exists for colleges.”

College costs are complex. Besides rising tuitions and fees, “a vast array of grants and loans and a financial-aid system that discounts tuition for most students (use hard to understand) opaque formulas.”

Moreover, colleges avoid discussing affordability issues and possible future debt obligations.”

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=31330

2. “How the Obama Administration is Making the US Media its Mouthpiece

Spoonfed national security scoops based on anonymous official leaks – did we learn nothing from Judith Miller’s WMD reporting?

The Bush/Obama White House’s extreme fixation on secrecy is shaped by a bizarre paradox. One the one hand, the current administration has prosecuted double the number of whistleblowers – government employees who leak classified information showing high-level official wrongdoing – than all previous administrations combined. Obama officials have also, as ACLU lawyers documented this week in the Guardian, resisted with unprecedented vigor any attempts to subject their conduct to judicial review or any form of public disclosure, by insisting to courts that these programs are so secretive that the US government cannot even confirm or deny their existence without damaging US national security.

But at the very same time that they invoke broad secrecy claims to shield their conduct from outside scrutiny, it is Bush/Obama officials themselves who have continuously and quite selectively leaked information about these same programs to the US media. Indeed, the high publicity-value New York Times scoops of the past two weeks about covert national security programs have come substantially from Obama aides themselves.

In sum, these anonymous leaks are classic political propaganda: devoted to glorifying the leader and his policies for political gain. Because the programs are shrouded in official secrecy, it is impossible for journalists to verify these selective disclosures. By design, the only means the public has to learn anything about what the president is doing is the partial, selective disclosures by Bush/Obama’s own aides – those who work for him and are devoted to his political triumph.

But despite those real differences with the Judy Miller travesty, the basic template is the same. These reporters rely overwhelmingly on government sources. Their reporting is shaped almost exclusively by the claims of underlings who are loyal to the president. The journalists have no means of verifying the assertions they are passing on as fact. And worst of all, they grant anonymity to Bush/Obama’s aides who are doing little more than doing the president’s bidding and promoting his political interests.

It is pure “access journalism”: these reporters are given scoops in exchange for their wholly unjustified promise to allow government officials to propagandize the citizenry without accountability (that is, from behind the protective shield of anonymity). By necessity, their journalistic storytelling is shaped by the perspective of these official sources.

Perhaps the most pernicious effect of this type of journalism is that it converts journalists into dutiful messengers of official decrees. Reporters are trained that they will be selected as scoop-receivers only if they demonstrate fealty to the agenda of official sources.

There is a fundamental tension between serving as adversarial watchdog over government officials and serving as the primary amplifiers of their propaganda. The US government has perfected the art of training American journalists to realize that they will be rewarded if they serve the latter role, and punished if they do not. Judging by these last several weeks of high-profile, government-disseminated scoops, it is a lesson that many journalists have learned all too eagerly.”

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article31526.htm

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