The dog and pony show of year round electioneering and the mainstream media

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Published Date: 
Tuesday, May 12, 2015

No sooner does a U.S. presidential election end than a new round of politicking for the next election begins, as if four years hence were just right around the corner!

True, the midterm congressional elections — in which the full House of Representatives and one-third of the U.S. Senate is up for re-election — provide a bit of a non-presidential political interlude, but the presidential electioneering is just under the surface. The mainstream media (MSM), the same media that on the surface militates for campaign finance reform, are the same opinion molders keeping presidential campaigning looming behind the clouds on the political horizon.

Dog and Pony ShowWe the people complain in letters to the editor, blogs, opinion polls, object to political signs, etc., and emphatically blame the perpetual politicians for their year round congressional and presidential political campaigning to no avail. We are more than cloyed with so many political advertisements. But who is really at fault for the year round politicking and the political (television) advertisements of the campaign season that has surfeited our political senses?

If you follow the news, you would have observed how the media has enticed Republicans to come out to run for president. We have young conservative U.S. Senators imitating Obama, running for president after one or two terms (and some of them having to relinquish their seats to run): Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), etc. We also have Republican governors intending, announcing, or already running for nearly two years before the actual election. We have perpetual candidates such as John McCain (R-AZ) promoted by the MSM as a GOP maverick to sabotage the Republicans from within. This time around Hillary Clinton seems to have rapped it up for the Democrats, only let’s remember what happened in 2008. Out of the blue she lost the Democratic primary to young Barack Obama, a first term senator from Illinois. At other times, it’s the Democrats who run in flocks. For the GOP this time, it’s the more the merrier, more time for ridiculing and sabotaging conservatives, and more cash flow in political advertisement for the MSM!

Presidential campaigning is not only an expensive proposition for which candidates have to campaign hard to fill their political war chests, but also a grinding process for the campaigners on the political trail and their families. As much as they may desire to be the next American president, no one looks forward to being scrutinized, analyzed and criticized, particularly, if one is a conservative Republican to be unceremoniously dragged in the mud over any peccadillo, real or invented by their political opponents, and “investigated” by their allies in the media. Let’s face it: One is considered innocent until proven guilty in politics only if one is a Democrat, but the opposite is true for the Republican candidate. Democrats can be proven guilty, but it takes persistence, the transgressions must be flagrant, and costs lots of time and money. The liberal or Democratic candidates are defended by the MSM, but conservatives on the other side of the fence need lots of cash to maintain their viability and to mount a defense. The liberal MSM themselves bring forth issues and accusations that conservatives must counteract, and again this costs money.

True, the MSM have conflicting interests: On the one hand, they want to use campaign finance reform so they can be the only kid on the block, the main (if not the only) power to influence elections, and we all know which political direction they favor — i.e., the policies of the liberal democrats. On the other hand and therein lies the hypocrisy, political advertising is big business from which the MSM profit immensely, and if we consider all national elections, it is a multibillion-dollar enterprise that benefits the big cable networks, not to mention the big three TV networks — i.e., CBS, ABC, and NBC.

We the people have been told time again by the MSM pundits that their investigative journalists uncover scandals and political mishaps by following the money. We should follow the same advice, and ask ourselves — who profits financially from round the clock campaigning and the necessary multibillion-dollar spending those political campaigns, especially presidential electioneering, require? You guessed it, the MSM!

What is the cost of national elections? In 2012, congressional elections cost nearly $4 billion and presidential elections nearly $3 billion, a total of nearly $7 billion. Is this spending necessary? Unfortunately, probably so, as long as candidates are pushed by the MSM to campaign year round and prevent media monopoly over political speech.

And so now when you get cloyed to satiety with the dog and pony show of perpetual presidential electioneering (e.g., from the prodding of politicians to run years ahead of elections and then the necessary avalanche of paid political advertisements as the elections near), you recognize the dual strategy at work — which in either case the MSM win! With the victory of the holier-than-thou campaign finance reform, some of us citizens and organizations are muzzled and the incumbents the media prefers are protected. With the dog and pony show of perpetual presidential electioneering promoted by the media pundits, the MSM can call sanctimoniously for campaign finance reform, while running all the way to the bank — either way it is the hypocritical MSM who benefit.

Written by Dr. Miguel Faria

Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D. is a retired professor of neurosurgery and the author of Cuba in Revolution — Escape from a Lost Paradise (2002). His website is:

This article originally appeared on on May 12, 2015 and can be cited as: Faria MA. The dog and pony show of year round electioneering and the mainstream media., May 12, 2015. Available from:

The photo used to illustrate this commentary came from another source and did not appear in the original article. A shorter version of this commentary was also published in The Macon Telegraph on June 15, 2015.

Copyright ©2015 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

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Talking about Hillary...

Talking about Hillary, and hilarity, we thought this refreshing comment posted in the Macon Telegraph was hilarious:

Mike Mauro: For those who missed it, here's a list of Hillary's greatest hits:

“I was named after Sir Edmund Hillary.”

“I landed at Tuzla under sniper fire.”

“I tried to enlist in the Marines in 1975.”

“I want those emails out.”

“It’s all the fault of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.” (Whatever “it” is today.)

“I learned how to invest in cattle futures by reading the commodities column in the Wall Street Journal.”

“I didn’t start the rumors about Barack Obama being born in Kenya.”

“I try to be as transparent as possible.”

“Chelsea was jogging downtown around the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.”

“You can’t buy me.”

“I’m a Yankees fan.”

Every survivor of sexual assault “has the right to be heard, the right to be believed, and we are with you.” (Unless you’re accusing Bill Clinton, in which case you will be destroyed.)

“I love my husband.”

“(Wall Street) is trying to beat me in this primary.”

“I can’t be establishment because I’m a woman.”

“I’m too busy (to see the Benghazi movie ’13 Hours’).”

I doubt if she knows what the truth is anymore.

haciendapub admin: And where is the media’s mantra now, the same mainstream media who destroyed Dan Quayle for the misspelled potato?

And lest we forget: "I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was fulfill my profession.”

Political dialogue!

I thought this email exchange would be of interest to Hacienda readers —

Miguel: Excellent synopsis, Rolando. I agree with much of what you say!

Re. "I think Bernie Sanders is a plant to scare the moderate-left Democrats to vote for Hillary... "

The last time they tried that "plant" trick, though, Obama, was elected! They themselves do not realize how leftwing and idiotic much of their own "Democratic-socialist“ voting bloc has become — mere automatons who sometimes miss the cue gorging at the trough!
Rolando: I think Bernie Sanders is a plant to scare the moderate-left Democrats to vote for Hillary. He is a demented old Marxist who only appeals to Ivy League university students, ex-cons and welfare recipients — that is, the underclass of our society. Our youth have become brainwashed babbling idiots. Unaware of history, philosophy or anything that has existed before they began to experience consciousness they have become the useful fools of the left. They are so drugged up and vaccinate they they can no longer think independently and they spent the formative years of their lives in an educational system that made them mindless zombies who can only vomit back the disgusting pablum they have been continuously fed by the NEA-trained moronic teachers. We are surrounded on all sides by dangerous idiots, barbarians and the violent underclass, who see us as helpless weaklings to be consumed. All my hope is in the Lord — and not man.

Oh, and as for Trump is is a self-absorbed, ego maniac who has told everyone that he loves the "art of the deal" and the best deal in town for him today is to join the Bilderberger, Trilateral, CFR crowd who are building a technocracy to rule the world. I have no illusions about him joining the technocrats--he will do it in a heartbeat.
Miguel: Great to hear from you… We are for Ted Cruz, the most knowledgeable and principled of the GOP contenders. Trump has temporarily demolished PC but he may have demolished the GOP as well for the foreseeable future! I can imagine the destruction of the country with the open socialist (communist Bernie) and the complete regimentation of the nation with the corporativist-in-chief (Hillary).
Rolando: Sorry I haven't written in a while. I have been so busy with all sorts of things…If you don’t mind, who are you voting for President? I am considering Ted Cruz.

A technocratic society

Submitted by Rolando:

Actually, the power elite chose Obama and had groomed him for years just for this. Zbigniew Brzezinski, for the first time I remember, appeared on MSNBC and gave an interview before the election and endorsed Obama as the best and most qualified candidate for President. If you have read his (Brzezinski) book, you will see that he is no fool— but he is an admirer of Marxism, which he say was a necessary step toward the technocratic society he and his elite friend envision — even that Stalin was a necessary and useful step for the final utopian plan — the technocracy.

Then, after 5 years of Obama he once again appeared on a news program and again reinforced the idea that we should all support Obama as he was the best man for President. I would recommend a book by my friend Dennis Cuddy called Conspiracy. It is his latest book. It gives some of the most powerful arguments for a carefully constructed conspiracy to create a technocratic dictatorship for the world. You can get his book on After years of reading books of evidence, I am convinced of the truth of a world conspiracy.

The decline in the Popular Culture

Reality Television for Ratings and Money and the Decline of America's Morality in every Area

Sophomoric is defined as suggestive of or resembling the traditional sophomore: intellectually pretentious, overconfident, conceited, etc., but immature. This can describe Donald Trump who now has so influenced his other rivals that they are imitating him. I suspect, too, since Donald Trump is an actual reality show star but now on steroids as a presidential candidate, that he is influencing scores of other people in society, to include the young and vulnerable, to act like he acts. All of this does not bode will for America and our popular and actual culture. We will continue to spiral down into a culture of corruption and narcissism if not anarchy.  

Reality TV which is cheap to produce but in a highly competitive entertainment world that now goes way beyond the four major networks and the traditional television set, we see the perfect storm for the destruction of human maturity but worse yet morality or mores if we want to remain secular in our use of terms.

Secularism use to have its own morality based upon our Judeo-Christian heritage. You could see it in the television of the 1950's and early 60's. Shows like Andy Griffith had a strong story line that often had a moral point that was uplifting. But in no way would television shows intentionally make fun of or denigrate the faith of people, whatever that faith was, although extremes might have been shown in dramas, but never comedy.  Well intentioned humor might have been used in comedy routines.

Dramas which would depict vile behavior never showed extreme violence, blood and gore. Much was left to the imagination. The same would be true of sexual immorality or acts, nothing explicit was shown although adults watching new what was implied.

Even soap operas were respectful of moral boundaries in terms of how these shows were viewed and bad guys were clearly understood as bad guys, immoral or off the wall. Immorality wasn't glorified but was associated with being the villain.

Television and other medias now portray immorality in a delicious way and as winning. Losers are those who are prim and proper, those who are religious and portrayed as self-righteous or bigoted because of their religious beliefs. Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular are villanized and denigrated.

And now with the blurring of private lives of actors with their media shows, reality TV blurs reality and fiction although many of the reality shows are contrived but one has the feeling that what is depicted truly depicts the lives of the so-called stars.

In a world where so many people no longer practice any form of religion, Catholic or otherwise, most people get their sense of morality and their desire to imitate others not from religion or the lives of the saints.

And now on to the presidential campaign. Usually politics is ugly. But I think all of us can agree what we are seeing in the Republican candidates takes the cake.

And it is all fueled by the 24 hour a day news channels who have made the news, be it serious or obnoxious, into reality TV for the purpose of ratings and making money for the networks.

And on the very real level of our lives, look at how people use Facebook and the other  social communication venues to castigate, denigrate and gossip about others. Look at the language that is used that would cause a sailor to blush.

What does this say about us as we become more and more caricatures of human beings, more plastic than real?

How do Catholics, lay Catholics in particular, take seriously the Second Vatican Council's mandate that the laity bring their Catholic faith, especially our morality, our understanding of good works, to the very places that the laity have the most profound influence, at home, at work and at play, in other words in the public square such as politics and influencing others in a positive with with an authentic Catholic witness?

The churchiness that we have so emphasized for the past 50 years, meaning involving the laity in the institutional structures of the Church and her liturgy has eclipsed what the laity actually should be doing, not churchified ministries and work, but what they should be doing in the real world.

How can we recover civility and maturity in our lives and in the public square, on the internet and elsewhere. Is it possible to be a light set on a hill or are we covering our light with a bushel basket of sophomoric behavior? --- Fr. Allan J. McDonald, St Joseph’s Catholic Church, March 1, 2016,

Fr. Allan J. McDonald is absolutely correct in his blog and so are on target several of the comments, but the Catholic Church should not be blamed for the downward spiral. We have become a secular society that worships immediate gratification and celebrity status. This is due to the power of those who controlled the media, academia and the popular culture, compounded with an overt failure of parenthood, the public education system, the culture of government dependence, and the secularization of society. With the sensationalization of violence by the media and the popular culture, coupled with the ubiquitous yearning for fame and celebrity status at any price, we have become a declining and decadent society. Someone here once called me a pursuer of catastrophism, as if we were not witnessing a cataclysmic decline — but we are! What more evidence is needed for the obsessive and pathologic “fifteen minutes worth of fame” phenomenon than the immense popularity of vulgar “reality” television shows? It is not a big step to link  extensive coverage of shooting rampages in both the press and the electronic media as a major contributing factor to America’s psychosis — mass shootings — morbidly attempting to attain celebrity status even in death: Shoot a lot of innocent people and you are guaranteed to enter the club of celebrities... You may die in the act, but everyone will know your name — and the gun will be blamed rather than the psychopath!

The secular society’s dyke is leaking, and it will take more than a finger to stop the leak! Thank you for the blog and the chance to comment. This is one of the most intellectual blog and commentary posts anywhere. Kudos to you Father McDonald! — Miguel A. Faria, M.D., Associate Editor in Chief and World Affairs Editor of Surgical Neurology International (SNI)

CNBC —Dog and Pony Show in action!

Why CNBC’s debate fiasco fuels the case that journalists hate Republicans By Howard Kurtz, October 30, 2015, Fox

Turns out I’m not the only one who thought the CNBC debate moderators turned in a cringe-worthy performance.

Just about everyone said it sucked.

Salon: “CNBC just set the standard for catastrophic debate performances.”

Slate: “A debate that the network hoped could revive its mojo only revealed how over the hill it truly is.”

Yahoo: “This will go down as the debate that unified the Republican field… in its common contempt for the CNBC moderators.”

The business network drew its largest audience ever, 14 million viewers, and many of them undoubtedly came away with a negative view of CNBC’s fairness.

But there are some larger lessons here about television, campaign coverage and the inevitable tensions between journalists and politicians.

I believe in tough and provocative questions. Sometimes they are going to be unpopular, especially before a partisan audience.

I know the Fox News moderators generated some strong resentment for the Cleveland debate, particularly from those who love Donald Trump. But in my view even the most provocative questions were based on substance: Bret Baier asking Trump if he’d agree not to run as an independent, Megyn Kelly quoting his past demeaning remarks about women.

By contrast, the CNBC crew was more personal, seemingly arguing with the candidates as if it was just another edition of “Squawk Box.” When John Harwood asked Trump if he were running a “comic book” campaign, when he said Trump had a better chance of “flying away” from the podium than making his tax plan work, those came off as insults.

And where’s the policy substance in Harwood asking Mike Huckabee whether Trump has the “moral authority” to lead the country? Huckabee wouldn’t play, and Trump deemed the question “nasty.”

When Carl Quintanilla kept pressing Ben Carson about his ties to a medical company and wouldn’t accept his answers, the audience erupted in boos.

No wonder Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie unloaded on the questioners…

Dog and Pony Show

Excellent article, as always.

I would add that the Republicans should treat the MSM as the adversaries that they are. That old saw about not picking fights with people who buy ink by the barrel does not apply when the ink is already used adversely without provocation.

Not premise, nor bias should go unchallenged. i.e. "We will not move on to the next question until I am allowed to answer this one". "Why the harsh tone?" "Is my money more evil than Hillary's"?, etc.

Could the MSM be more hostile?

Shallowness of mainstream media

Regarding the shallowness of the media relevant to this article and the fact many Americans remain distracted by the fluff and entertainment items the mainstream media constantly tries to pass off as “news,” I found this pearl by Dakota Meyer, the ex-fiancé of Bristol Palin and a former U.S. Marine, who reminded Americans of more important issues in his lengthy Facebook post of Friday, June 26:

"Within the past 24 hours there have been three terrorist style attacks across the world…There has been an incident at a U.S. company owned gas factory in Lyon, France, leaving one dead and two injured. Another incident in Tunisia with 28 people lost in an assault on a west tourist, mostly British. And finally, a blast at a Shiite mosque in Kuwait.

“All ISIS/ISIL attacks and all overshadowed by the dog and pony show being put on here domestically by some politicians and mass media. The news that feeds the 'inquiring mind want to know' is inconsequential compared to that which is truly relevant but lost on the back page. I urge you to go beyond what is spoon fed to you and see what is truly going on out there."

A dog and pony show by the mainstream media indeed… I couldn’t agree with you more Dr. Faria! It also looks like others may have read your article and be coming around too!

Entertainment value!

Sunday the MT published a letter from Frank Gadbois, socialist complainer, and entertainer par excellence of Warner Robins. This left-wing radical uses the word“ hatred” and calls me an “extremist.” Here is the “librarian” who admitted dumping (and burning?) my donated books out of pure hatred and intolerance.* I wonder if he is looking in the mirror!

The letter in fact has entertainment value and is therefore reprinted here along with a couple of responses. It is in fact, the well-informed and vastly more intellectual reader/poster Jefferson Thomas, who nailed him and not the other way around, LOL! —MAF

Read on:

Macon Telegraph, June 28, 2015

Misplaced attack on media

Miguel A. Faria’s lengthy column on the mainstream media that he claims wrongly only defends liberal and Democratic candidates was yet more of his usual right-wing, Republican, libertarian drivel. Dr. Faria, a Cuban-American extremist, knows that most of our mass media wanted to end our ridiculous trade embargo on Cuba and give them diplomatic recognition. But his hatred for the Castros is so strong that he detests anyone, including our mass media, who disagrees with him.

Most Cubans want to end the trade embargo and visit their Cuban-American relatives in our great nation. Many want to become American citizens. It’s beyond time to recognize Cuba and help their long suffering citizens who love our country so much.-- Frank W. Gadbois, Warner Robins

Bob Farquhar (Anti-nuclear activist): To Frank W. Gadbois: You nailed him, Frank.

Jefferson Thomas (Georgia Southwestern College): Frank Gadbois: "Miguel A. Faria’s lengthy column on the mainstream media that he claims wrongly only defends liberal and Democratic candidates was yet more of his usual right-wing, Republican, libertarian drivel. Dr. Faria, a Cuban-American extremist, knows that most of our mass media wanted to end our ridiculous trade embargo on Cuba and give them diplomatic recognition. But his hatred for the Castros is so strong that he detests anyone, including our mass media, who disagrees with him."

Doesn't your second sentence controvert your first, and confirm Faria's opinion wherein you concede that he "knows that most of our mass media wanted to end our ridiculous trade embargo...."? Media's job is to report the pros and cons of an issue rather than take a side as you have pointed out is our example.

"Hatred for the Castro's"-----Tyrannical despots-what's not to love?

"Most Cubans want to end the trade embargo and visit their Cuban-American relatives in our great nation." -------Travel has to be approved by the government, and there are restrictions on doctors, scientists, etc.

Willie Bean: Frank Gadbois, You really should get a library card and educate yourself…

*The telling and interesting episode is available here:

Criticisms of Dr. Faria

Several comments above have attacked Dr. Faria as a Cuban-American extremist, a right wing Republican, etc. It has always interested me that conservatives are always labeled by the left as "extremist" and "extreme right" but the left, among their leftist colleagues and supporters, are described as "mainstream", "reasonable" and other complementary names. It may interest these critics that most polls have consistently shown that the population of the United States is overwhelmingly conservative in its beliefs. The radical left, which most of these view represent in these letters, enjoys portraying itself as the voice of reason and mainstream.

Now as far as Dr. Faria being obsessed with his hatred of Castro and Cuban communism, this is written by pampered leftists who have spent their lives in one of the freest, most productive, wealthiest countries in the world. They have never experience first hand the horror of communist rule--the firing squads, the concentration camps, the secret police raids in the middle of the night, disappearance of friends and family members, the constant oppressive fear and the hopelessness of life under communism. The American left from the very beginning of the fall of Cuba to communism called for normalization of relations with Castro's regime and they continue that nonsense today. Once we normalized relations with China and moved our industries to China, we transformed their murderous regime into a world military power. Had we normalized relation with Cuba, they too would have joined the Soviets and China in an aggressive attack on the United States. Castro's regime had full relations with the communist giants--the USSR and China, yet it still remained in abject poverty. It was not the embargo that impoverished the people of Cuba, it was the failures of communism. The left always lives in a utopian dream world and and never faces reality--it is beyond them. Dr. Faria's views are not extremist they are mainstream. If you leftists think collectivism is so wonderful why don't you live in one of these hellholes? I would suggest North Korea.