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Monday, June 28, 2021

The Guide looks at the media, from social to corporate. June 28 2021

Artists and the Arts have far more than "a relationship" with the media. They are dependent upon the media. From the days when plays and musicals, concerts and recitals, lived and died in newspaper reviews; through the era when radio airplay drove record sales; to the arrival of MTV and its country clones; to the myriad aspects of digital distribution, today's media in all its forms continues to be essential. 

Through the pandemic when live performances on the web were what kept artists in front of audiences, paradigms shifted in the ways used to do that. Yet we still look to "Rolling Stone," to "Paste," to "No Depression" and "Sing Out," to "FolkWorks" and the Guide, and we still listen to "Folkscene" and "Folk Alley" for news of who is touring or in the studio and what new music can be heard.

Of course we are, to this point, talking about niche publications and broadcasts. But, big or small, we need to view these in the context of the whole. 

Corporatization is seizing control of everything. Hedge funds and bored billionaires own newspapers. Diversified corporations buy networks to gain megaphone, technical expertise, and ultimately total control of how their message is delivered and their image portrayed.

Digital platforms, like this one used by the Guide, have their publishing protocols changed by web megagiants (in our case, hegemonistic Google) so they can maximize profitability for their board rooms while limiting the amount of content that can be seen by readers in any one edition. For them, more traffic back to the site equals more profit for the platform owners -- even though the content provider cannot make daily posts because we all need to make a living doing something else.

Through it all, Artists pay fees to be included in digital music services that often provide no revenue stream in return. Yet rejecting "the chance to be heard there" drives most artists to submit their credit card number and be obligated for monthly fees.

Meanwhile, the nature of "The Media" is being reinvented right before our eyes. Digital streaming services pay millions for new video series content that had always been the purview of the broadcast and cable networks.

Even news channels join the broadcast networks to move ,more and more, away from reporting events, and to instead engage in shameless promotion of the larger corporation's other divisions -- and lobbying "needs" for legislation in their interests.

Because everything is connected to everything else, and new trends are changing everything in ways that are alarming and risk the fundamental credibility of things you accept as news -- and rely on as looking out for your best interests -- we are devoting this edition to a look at the state of the media.

Let's get started.


For additional information, please email Nathan at


A thought for today that should be transcendent

By Larry Wines
It isn't often you come across one of those "though for today from one born on this date" axioms that warrants exploration beyond the momentary "huhh!" you give it. Here's one that transcends all that.

"What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?"

~ Jean Jacques Rousseau, philosopher and author 
(born June 28, 1712, died in 1778)

What wisdom, Mr. Rousseau? Quite likely, none. But when it comes to reliable information needed to craft, forge, temper and apply wisdom...

•  Monday marks the three-year anniversary of the murderous assault on the newsroom of the Capital Gazette, a local newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. Five murdered, two wounded. The day brings dedication of the "Guardians of the First Amendment" memorial near the City Dock in Annapolis, with local dignitaries on hand for the unveiling.

• The pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, the last stand for a free press in Hong Kong since the mainland communist Chinese takeover, published its final edition last week, after 26 years.

• In the U.S., a tiny handful of corporate entities now control over 90 percent of American news outlets.

The first two points speak for themselves. The third is insidious beyond the obvious. One way that's a problem? The principal sponsors of every TV newscast and all cable news channels are Big Pharma -- even as traumatized military veterans of multiple combat deployments are prescribed addictive drugs. 

We live in a culture where there's a pill for everything, and there is an acceptance akin to trusting the alchemist or the pouch of potions worn around the neck. Marijuana, now legalized, has spawned billions in hemp-based cure-alls and driven billions in ad spending by Big Pharma to defend their market sector. As if to enable reliance on the magical realm, resources for science classrooms and science reporting get short shrift. 

Concurrently and consequentially, we are numbed, distracted and diverted from questioning much that can be readily obscured, including the unseen unkindnesses of the power elite. Entire sectors of the corporatocracy are off-limits to investigative journalism on the national stage, while corporate cross-promotion usurps airtime allotted for news presentation.

Meanwhile, good journalism in the public interest IS out there. But it must contend not only with the carefully designed distraction of monied interests, but with random bullshit growing faster than the oceanic gyre of floating plastic trash. 

Critics are vital. But media self-criticism is like the guy looking under the streetlight for his car keys after losing them somewhere else. He's obviously pursuing the quest, and because he's where everybody sees him, others will watch and may join in. Of course it's meaningless and becomes just a show. Trumpet it all you want, but it functions only as a distraction while selling the idea of something happening. 

It cannot address credibility where it should, because assorted self-serving oligarchs control corporate messaging and dissemination of information. Increasingly it could be spelled "corpirate" messaging. Because the interests of, George W. Bush called them, "The Deciders," are too-often aligned with the ones paying to broaden the scope and throw of the bullshit. 

No deep dive into conspiracy theories required here: when money had bought control, it exercises it. Much that can be, usually is, orchestrated. And it includes stirring-up malevolent malcontents into making nasty, vicious threats -- and as we saw in Annapolis, even murderous attacks -- on reporters who are not telling them what they want to hear. 

That part is important. Today's world requires constant validation by an echo chamber, and for too many individuals, it is delivered by the cynical profiteers who feed the masses through addictive social media. At every level, from gazillionaire tech guru to frustrated seething wallower in the daily sheep dip of social toxins, they form a matrix, a virtual phalanx, of those who make shit up, spread it on social media, and profit or otherwise gain corrosive enjoyment from it.

Consequently, in a time when so much advertising is needed to stay in the newspaper business that there is an ever-smaller "news hole" remaining for news? Time and resources get diverted from reporting, as it does from broadcast news time, because de-bunking mass disseminations of wildly inaccurate crap is now as much a daily necessity as expending resources on physical security for the newsroom. 

This just in: coming soon, add the cost of physical security for reporters in the field, doing their jobs so the rest of us know what, of consequence, is happening in a thousand places.

Last week the U.S. Justice Department charged a U.S. Capitol riot suspect, Shane Jason Woods, "with assaulting a cameraman during the January 6 attack, saying the Illinois man is the first insurrection defendant to be arrested for allegedly harming a member of the media," CNN's Devan Cole reported. Along with tripping and pushing a US Capitol Police officer as seen in video recordings, Woods also allegedly "ran into and tackled" a cameraman outside the Capitol, according to court filings. And when asked about prosecuting January 6 insurrectionists, former Attorney General William Barr, a Trump appointee, said over the weekend that Trump's insistence on keeping followers stirred-up with his election lies is "all bullshit." 

Most media reported what Barr said. Certain outlets either ignored it or cast aspersions as they reported it, catering to the altered state of their core viewers.

Which is but one illustration that not everything claiming First Amendment protection is noble, or accurate, or trustworthy. Yellow Journalism brought us everything from the Asian Exclusion Act to the Spanish-American War to McCarthyism. Now it is greasing the wheels for state laws that will restrict voting in time for the 2022 midterms.

Societies are supposed to learn and grow from mistakes. There is supposed to be a march forward of civilization. Yet in 2021, some recently-founded cable channels, masquerading as news in an effort to capitalize on the bombastic on-air characters who get big ratings (and with that, maximum advertising revenues) on Fox News, are bent on beating Fox at its own game. So One America News Network (aka OAN) and Newsmax are headed for inciting riots by espousing fear-based fiction. They, and the on-air "personalities" at Fox News, are participatory insurgents that undermine all definitions of journalistic integrity.

Last week, Pearson Sharp, a "news" anchor on the wacko OAN used his broadcast to call for "death by mass executions" of those who disagree with Trump's election lies, and the mass executions of Democrats in general. It was widely reported as flash-in-the-pan news. It deserves far more serious concern. (

It impacts. Particularly among those who get all their information from extremist media and the echo chamber that social media constructs around their known likes. Two weeks ago I encountered a self-professed conservative who advocates shooting all the homeless people, "Until the rest of them get the message and stop that shit. That'll tell 'em to get a job. I'm tired of looking at them!" he said. Thing is, he isn't just one person who thinks that way, and social media aggregates, sometimes congregates, individuals into groups with similar ideas.

So how the hell do you reconcile all that with Rousseau's call, 300 years ago, for kindness as the ultimate expression of wisdom?

Much closer to our own time, the late Glenn Campbell sang a trademark song written by Curt Sapaugh and Bobby Austin. It peaked at # 1 on the Hot Adult Contemporary chart and was a # 2 hit Country single. It's been performed by symphonies, recorded by numerous musicians and bands, and was even sung by the characters on "Sesame Street." And it desperately needs to come back: 

If you see your brother standing by the road
With a heavy load from the seeds he's sowed
And if you see your sister falling by the way
Just stop and say "You're going the wrong way"

You got to try a little kindness, yes show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness then you'll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets

Don't walk around the down and out
Lend a helping hand instead of doubt
And the kindness that you show every day
Will help someone along their way

You got to try a little kindness, yes show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness, then you'll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets

You got to try a little kindness, yes show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness then you'll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets


Here's a music video of Glen Campbell singing the song with a beautifully crafted slide show.

We think Mr. Rousseau would have approved.

"Try a Little Kindness" was first recorded by Glen Campbell as a single and as the title track of his 1969 album.


Media, News, Propaganda, Lies on Social Media, and Demanding Truth 

We have explored these entangled topics many times, along with the consequences of an entire society that is too easily (a) addicted to sharing sensationalist stupid sh*t, (b) is quick to believe the unverified, and (c) therefore makes itself subject to being stampeded like mooing cattle. (You may be getting fed and fattened, but do you know where that chute leads?)

At the same time, responsible journalism is more important than ever before -- because in the world of instant cyber sharing, it isn't simply the need for accurate reporting. Today's responsible journalism must be the arbiter of the facts and the watchdog of accuracy and the canary in the coal mine. There just is no responsible alternative to doing all that, when the BS and baloney are constantly getting disseminated from well-funded, malevolent megaphones. So share a moment for a quick look at what it takes to get real news out there.

It's important to know what and when to question -- especially with the instant gratification of the ever-present "share" button. So, we continue our commitment to "keeping it real" and keeping it in the forefront of critically important awareness and conversation.

We suggest the following...


"When Public Discourse Devolves Into Dangerous Nonsense"

by Mack Green

"With the addition of social media technology, disinformation spreads at speeds and magnitudes of influence never before experienced in human history."

"'No reasonable person would believe the words that come out of Tucker Carlson’s mouth.'"

"This assertion was made by Carlson’s lawyers, defending him in a slander suit. The judge, a Trump appointee, embraced the claim that Mr. Carlson’s Fox News show is of such a 'tenor' that viewers should realize that he’s not stating facts when discussing topics. She explained in her opinion statement that given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, a reasonable viewer is skeptical about what he says. According to the judge, the case did not meet the essential criterion of malice required for a defamation claim. The judge noted that he is engaging in exaggeration and non-literal commentary. In this sense, Mr. Carlson’s discourse and analysis may be equated with nonsense. And a reasonable audience should know that. Thus, he’s not culpable."

(Green goes on to reveal who else in the media is using the defense that they cannot be held culpable, even when their words incite insurrection. It's a good read.)

You can read that full story HERE


Julian Assange is still vilified by the U.S. government. Makes no difference whether a Biden or Trump administration is in charge.

If Assange is put on trial for telling the people the truth? The legacy of the Pentagon Papers (which revealed, to the people, the truth about the Vietnam War, and led to the end of that war) will be reversed.

You can believe the ongoing avalanche of BS, or you can become aware that true freedom of the press is at stake. Here's a June 28th online event we recommend.

assange tour


Real news can never sleep. Because the purveyors of cynicism never cease trying to brainwash the masses using crap that serves the interests of their masters. Here's a look at producing real news.

Erin O’Mara, President of the print and online magazine, The Nation, says:

"Each story that we publish in The Nation involves an incredible amount of craft, skill, and experience to produce. Our writers can sometimes spend months cultivating sources, interviewing, and reporting before we publish the articles you read in a print issue or online at

"On average, it costs The Nation about $2,600 to publish just one of the hundreds of articles we publish each month, not to mention the exclusive, investigative pieces that can take months to report and editHere’s how that cost breaks down:

(Source: The Nation, 6/25/21)

"Subscriptions cover less than half of what it takes to publish fierce, independent journalism day after day. We rely on the support from donors to help fill that gap. 

"Reader support keeps our presses running. It also allows our correspondents to be fearless in their viewpoints and commentary. We simply couldn’t do that without you. As the President of The Nation, I would be so grateful if you would help us cover the cost of what it takes to produce it by donating to The Nation today."

(No, we do not get a cut, nor are we agents for their cause, alone.)

O'Mara's direct appeal, beyond trying to sell you a subscription, is increasingly common -- because it is increasingly necessary

No longer are newsrooms simply gathering information, evaluating it for news worthiness, processing, fact-checking, determining reach and scope, impact and implications of the stories they want to cover, and determining how to report it fairly. Nowadays, an increasing share of resources are expended on evaluating the veracity (i.e., essential truthfulness) of what others report -- especially when certain outlets are characterized by "information" that simply has no factual basis. And along with that comes the obligation to out the purveyors of BS that otherwise shapes public opinion.

Those are the obvious violations of the public trust. There is also the fact that most media outlets today are part of massive corporate empires who want their "news divisions" to carry water for their other profitmaking activities. That raises questions of selective reporting and whether certain topics or desperately needed investigations are off-limits.

All of that is why we see our role at the Guide not solely as "niche publication" for music, the arts, and artists. We appreciate the value, not just of the niche, but of the perch we occupy, as well. And given that we have, right here on-board, experience and perspective -- having held official White House-issued press credentials; having worked as a political columnist, as well as a working reporter covering government, defense spending, the military, aerospace, space and NASA, and more; AND having been the sole honoree of the 2014 "Music Legend Award" for our arts journalism -- we understand and accept that we, too, share the responsibility for good journalism, and for calling-out those who abuse the public trust. 

That might sound lofty, but the sooner everyone gets back to demanding those things as fundamental and universal, the sooner we can function as a society built on truth and trust.


Well. Here we are, up against those publishing paradigms imposed by Google since it did a Borg assimilation of the platform we use to bring you The Guide online.

So we must wait to do a "Part Deux" for more on this topic.

'Til then, adieu and toodles.


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It's all there, since we first moved The Guide (with its former name) to Blogspot. 

Does that mean you need to find Marty and Doc's DeLorean time machine? 

Because, geez, THAT was back when Rin-Tin-Tin hadn't gotten his second "tin" from Tin Pan Alley

... and you watched TV on a big box that bombarded you with non-ionizing radiation if you sat close to it, instead of inescapable non-ionizing radiation from 5g

... and you watched movies on reels of film aimed at a screen that bounced-back the light projected onto it, instead of only-ever seeing everything in glowing postage-stamp mode on your phone

... and "the pandemic" meant 1918

... and Rudy Giuliani was "America's Mayor" instead of a babbling portable meltdown of brown ooze

... and "trump" was something that only happened in a card game, instead of being garishly emblazoned on buildings that go bankrupt (before it became a synonym for grifter college, grifter steaks, cultist wackos, deadly violent attempted coups at the Capitol, and banishment from polite society)

... and you can escape now, AND/OR go far enough back, to escape whatever the lunacy du jour and explore what we've published for your perusal and enjoyment.

CONTACT US -- Post Comments / Send Questions / say Howdy at:

Tiedtothetracks (at) Hotmail (dot) com

OR USE THE COMMENTS FUNCTION on the Blogspot site.


Entire contents copyright © 2021, 

Lawrence Wines & Tied to the Tracks.

All rights reserved.

♪ The ACOUSTIC AMERICANA MUSIC GUIDE endeavors to bring you NEWS – and views of interest to artists everywhere – more specifically to musicians and the creative community and music makers -- and fans of acoustic and Folk-Americana music. That includes both traditional and innovative forms. From the deepest roots to today’s acoustic renaissance, that’s our beat. We provide a wealth of resources, including a HUGE catalog of acoustic-friendly venues (now undergoing a major update), and inside info on FESTIVALS and select performances in Southern California in venues from the monumentally large to the intimately small and cozy. We cover workshops, conferences, and other events for artists and folks in the music industry, and all kinds o’ things in the world of acoustic and Americana and accessible classical music. From washtub bass to musical spoons to oboe to viola to banjo to squeezebox, from Djangostyle to new-fangled-old-time string band music, from sweet Cajun fiddle to bluegrass and pre-bluegrass Appalachian mountain music to all the swamp water roots of the blues and the bright lights of where the music is headed now.
The Acoustic Americana Music Guide. Thanks for sittin' a spell. The cyber porch'll be here anytime you come back from a masked safari to fetch your groceries, or get a hankerin' for a virtual version of hittin' the road for the festival circuit or a concert tour.

Til we catch ya again on the flip side 
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