We citizens have one small chit in our Democracy--the vote. But without a robust and truly free news media, our vote is worth nothing. Knowledge is power, and in an age of moneyed interests—interests that control the media itself—it is the only power, as exercised through our vote, we citizens have a hope of possessing. Advance The Dialog is a tool for the public. It asks the media to follow common sense Rules designed to elicit factual data, Calls Them Out when they do not, and holds them accountable in the performance of their duty as The Fourth Pillar of Democracy.

So Welcome to ATD. I hope you will join me by commenting on my blogs and adding Your Input by Calling Them Out when they break The Rules!

Featured Video! (bottom): FOX News Reports on Carbon Dividend Act (and no one else does!)

“Insanity is repeating the same mistake over and over, and expecting a different result.” That saying is often used in reference to politics, but maybe in the current political climate, the converse is true.  Maybe Republicans are applying a proven strategy- repeating an untruth over and over- and, via a feckless press, expecting, …and getting, the same result: appearing to be in the right on ‘willingness to negotiate’, thereby prolonging the debate on debt reduction, their goal. In other words, ‘insanity’, as in, ‘crazy like a fox’.

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This one really got my attention. Lavabit, a small encrypted email service, was shutdown a few weeks ago by its owner, Ladar Levison, because… well, he can’t actually say why. The post on his company’s website hints at the reason, expressing his wish to not be “complicit in crimes against the American people”, and stating he cannot “legally share … the events that led to [his] decision” even though “the first amendment is supposed to guarantee the freedom to speak out in situations like this.”

Another ISP provider, Silent Circle, also shut down abruptly. Its CEO said “There was no … read more »

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The PBS News Hour and CNN’s The Situation Room debates on recent changes to NC’s voting law, offer a study in contrast on Rules adherence and debate integrity.  While both were illuminated by facts that supported strong arguments, CNN had more Rule breaks and became mired in False Argument with too much crosstalk because a few basic Questions were not Asked early on.

The change to North Carolina’s law, which takes affect in 2016, has 4 components:
(1) government photo ID is required
(2) early voting period is shortened from 17 days to 10 days
(3) same-day registration no longer … read more »

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Some off-the-cuff observations on the IRS and AP phone records ‘scandals’, the daily updates of which I have only casually taking in…

For the most part, these stories have played out the way many do.  An initial report with few details followed by ‘explosive outrage’ occurs, then a cycle of additional details accompanied by retooled outrage repeats until it has become either completely politicized, and/or a core issue is finally identified and real debate can begin.  In other words, a series of Mountain Out of Molehill (Mischaracterization sub-Rule) moments, in tandem with a gradual news release, then, … read more »

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The amendment for expanded background checks failed to get the 60 votes it needed to proceed in the Senate last week.  Part of a larger bill, it was hotly debated, with criticism and accusations of misinformation coming from both sides.

So how did the media do with its coverage?

Well, there was plenty of it, but with key gaps that were repeated, over and over again.  In a 10 day period, I saw several Rules violated, each multiple times, often with the same person being interviewed on the same subject, on different shows.

Ask The Question & False Argument- it’s read more »

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