'Stomach-churning behavior': MSNBC's Heilemann demolishes 'morally depraved' conservatives 'openly mocking' Capitol cops
MSNBC's John Heilemann called out conservative media outlets shielding their viewers from the horrors of the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Four police officers testified Tuesday in the first House select committee hearing on the U.S. Capitol riot where they battled Donald Trump supporters attempting to violently overturn the election results, but the "Morning Joe" contributor said their emotionally devastating accounts won't break through to a significant portion of the electorate.
"It's not just that there's this cult of personality," Heilemann said. "What we do not grasp fully yet, we have only a vague sense of it, there is this parallel universe, this parallel media infrastructure, this parallel media universe in which Donald Trump is the king, the godhead, but it just means that there are tens of millions of Americans now, the reason that this is not going to change their minds is it's not going to get through to them at all. They are absorbing a totally different version of reality of what's going on in America."
Conservative media outlets might show some of their testimony, he said, but right-wing commentators are already busily smearing their reputations and sowing doubt in their viewers' minds.
"The extent that this stuff got covered, as moved as I was by the testimony, I was just enraged to see people on, you know, all of these right-wing networks getting on and saying they're crisis actors, saying these people made this up," Heilemann said. "There's prime-time hosts on other networks, giving out awards for who's the best actor in this category, and that category. The most disgusting, appalling, morally depraved, just, I mean, stomach-churning behavior on people who are not worthy, you know, not even worthy to coexist on the same planet, in some ways, with these people, the people who made the sacrifice, are sitting in there fully vaccinated, air-conditioned studios mocking these men -- mocking them."
"Not diminishing their importance," he added, "I'm talking about openly mocking their sacrifice and their service, calling them crisis actors, saying they fabricated all of this, apparently, made it all up and others, as you know, some people who used to have some respect in this business, coming on and saying it's much adieu about nothing, it was a largely peaceful protest, we're back to the same trope that has been trotted out by nutty right-wing members of Congress and the former president that, 'Hey, there's nothing to see here, it's just another day at the park,' even in the face of all the video evidence and the face of the powerful testimony."
The hearings won't change any minds, Heilemann said, because conservative media serves up an alternate reality.
"No, it's not going to break through, I'm afraid, because they are fully in the grip of this delusion," he said, "and the delusion is supported by this alternative parallel media infrastructure that is never going to allow anything close to the truth to pierce the consciousness of the people who are in its thrall."
07 28 2021 06 11 42 www.youtube.com
Imagine a world where you could sit on the same couch as a friend who lives thousands of miles away, or conjure up a virtual version of your workplace while at the beach.
Welcome to the metaverse: a vision of the future that sounds fantastical, but which tech titans like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg are betting on as the next great leap in the evolution of the internet.
The metaverse is, in fact, the stuff of science-fiction: the term was coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel "Snow Crash", in which people don virtual reality headsets to interact inside a game-like digital world.
The book has long enjoyed cult status among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs -- but in recent months the metaverse has become one of the tech sector's hottest buzzwords, with companies pouring millions of dollars into its development.
Facebook fueled the excitement further Monday by announcing the creation of a new team to work on Zuckerberg's vision of the metaverse.
"This is going to be a really big part of the next chapter for the technology industry," Zuckerberg told tech website The Verge last week. Over the next five years, he predicted, Facebook would transition from "primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company".
As with many tech buzzwords, the definition of the metaverse depends on whom you ask. But broadly, it involves blending the physical world with the digital one.
With the help of augmented reality glasses, it might allow you to see information whizz before your eyes as you walk around a city, from traffic and pollution updates to local history.
But metaverse enthusiasts are dreaming of a future in which the idea could be extended much further, allowing us to be transported to digital settings that feel real, such as a nightclub or a mountaintop.
As workers have grown weary of video-conferences during the pandemic, Zuckerberg is particularly excited about the idea that co-workers could be brought together in a virtual room that feels like they are face-to-face.
- Digital casinos and Gucci handbags -
Games in which players enter immersive digital worlds offer a glimpse into what the metaverse could eventually look like, blurring virtual entertainment with the real-world economy.
As far back as the early 2000s, the game Second Life allowed people to create digital avatars that could interact and shop with real money.
More recently, plots of land in Decentraland -- a virtual world where visitors can watch concerts, visit art galleries, and gamble in casinos -- have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars in MANA, a cryptocurrency.
The hugely popular video game Fortnite has also expanded into other forms of entertainment, with 12.3 million people logging in to watch rapper Travis Scott perform last year. Fortnite's owners Epic Games said in April that $1 billion of funding raised recently would be used to support its "vision for the metaverse".
And on Roblox, a gaming platform popular with children, a digital version of a Gucci bag sold in May for more than $4,100 -- more than the physical version would have cost.
Cathy Hackl, a tech consultant who advises companies on the metaverse, said the next generation was more comfortable with the idea of attaching real meaning to virtual experiences and objects.
"My first concert was in a stadium. My son's first concert was (American rapper) Lil Nas X on Roblox. Just because it happened in Roblox, it didn't make it less real for him," she said.
- Exhilarating, or dystopian? -
Hackl rejects the dystopian vision presented in "Snow Crash" of a virtual world where people go to escape the horrors of reality, an idea that emerged again two decades later in the novel and Steven Spielberg movie "Ready Player One".
Nor does she think the metaverse would necessarily involve everyone shutting out their neighbors with virtual reality headsets around the clock.
Facebook has invested heavily in technology that allows people to feel like they are physically somewhere else, such as its Portal video-calling devices, Oculus headsets and its Horizon virtual reality platform.
But even Zuckerberg has admitted that existing virtual reality headsets are "a bit clunky", requiring far greater development for the kind of experiences he has described.
Wedbush tech analyst Michael Pachter said it was hard to predict whether Facebook could truly transform into a "metaverse company" in five years.
"But they certainly have a huge advantage of having one billion people log on every day," he said. "If they offer entertainment options, it's likely they will succeed."
© 2021 AFP
'Blistering' new ads target Sen. Kyrsten Sinema for 'lacking the political courage to do what's right'
A progressive group isn't pulling any punches in going after Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema over her opposition to ending the filibuster — which has effectively blocked some of her own party's top legislative priorities, including the For the People voting act.
"The ads, seen first by The Daily Beast, are so blistering that a viewer might momentarily forget that Sinema is not up for re-election until 2024—and that the ads are paid for by Democrats, not Republicans," the Daily Beast reported Wednesday.
In one of the ads from Just Democracy, a coalition of advocacy groups run by progressive Black and brown organizers, a Navy veteran tells Sinema, "You don't have the political courage to do what's right for Arizona!"
In another, a Phoenix pastor named Reginald Walton says to Sinema from the pews, "Since going to Congress, you've become the problem."
"Instead of getting things done, your defense of the filibuster is causing more gridlock," Walton says.
"Beyond voting rights and the filibuster, the attacks also capitalize on a pair of high-profile moments where Sinema broke with many liberals or just straight-up angered them," the Daily Beast reports. "One ad makes use of the footage of Sinema giving a now-viral thumbs-down to legislation raising the federal minimum wage to $15 in February. Another ad highlights her absence from a vote to create an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol."
It marks Just Democracy's second ad campaign in as many months targeting Sinema, after a $1.5 million spend in June. And polls show the ads may be working, with Sinema's approval rating dropping from 41 percent to 34 percent from May to July, while her disapproval rating rose from 27 percent to 31 percent.
Watch an ad from the previous campaign below, and read the full story here.
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