Great piece on Daily Kos today in yet another great reaction to the constant whining of the Right about Liberal media bias. It just grinds me every time I hear someone say that. There have been dozens of seriously academic comparisons and analyses of American news media over the past 25 years and not one credible study concluded the media had a liberal bias except in the personal lives of reporters, who never get to decide what gets published. (Here’s a good roundup on the subject from an admittedly biased Liberal outlet but the data is not really arguable.)
The Daily Kos piece lists 15 stories that we’d actually see being covered in the so-called Liberal media if in fact they were even the teeniest bit liberal. It’s a great, though incomplete, list:
- How outsourcing destroyed the American job market while growing overseas economies
- Where the wealth in this nation is concentrated and how much wider the gap has grown in the 2000’s
- Why a right-wing business organization called ALEC is writing “model” legislation for state legislatures all over the country and imposing its overlords’ will on the public without any recognition of its dastardly power
- The fact that prison population in the U.S. is not only, by every comparison, the highest in the world, but that it continues to climb astronomically despite dramatic declines in crime rates
- Why the disproportionate number of young black men comprise that prison population when 69.2% of arrestees are white but 39.4% of inmates are non-Hispanic blacks who constitute only 13.6% of the total population
- How U.S. healthcare costs got to be by far the highest in the world (hint: it has nothing to do with quality of care.)
- Why Glass-Steagall, which kept little Americans’ savings safe for 66 years was repealed, who was behind it, and why it’s continuing to be a major block to economic renewal
- How the Right used gerrymandering to dominate state legislatures and thus steal votes directly from the people in races for Congressional seats
- The incredible number of bills blocked by the GOP over the past three Congressional sessions
- The impact of the Supreme Court’s clearly partisan Citizens United decision on American politics
- The continuing reliance of Republicans on Nixon’s racially bigoted Southern Strategy as a despicable prop for staying in power
- The fact that tax cuts the GOP touts so highly are almost always beneficial only or primarily to the wealthiest Americans, thus contributing to the economic disparity (see #x)
- What environmental factors are causing the potentially catastrophic reduction in bee populations in the U.S. and what agribusiness needs to stop doing to prevent it from annihilation
- The fact that 17 million Americans are either temporary, contract or consulting workers who are hired without benefits, long-term agreements, or any other support and how that impacts our jobless recovery
- The fact that 90% of American media is owned by just six companies: Time Warner, Disney, News Corporation, Viacom, Comcast, and CBS, and how this media consolidation has led to Corporate Media, not Liberal Media
If you read only mainstream media, you probably aren’t even aware of a significant number of these issues and of those of which you are aware, you have no real insight into causes and consequences. Because today’s mainstream media is big on sports, entertainment (see this post from yesterday) and very small on serious news coverage unless it meets the fundamental criterion, “If it bleeds, it leads.”
These media folk have carried the idea of “objectivity” into regions never even contemplated by the most insidious leaders of any nation. They think objective reporting means giving both sides equal access and apparent credibility regardless whether their views hold any water at all on even slightest examination. They are too lazy to dig out facts for themselves. Reporting consists in interviewing one person from the Left, one person from the Right and then spouting “he said, she said” bullpuckey as if it were news.
William Kristol and I are on the opposite end of virtually every issue and topic you can imagine. But I have to give the guy props today for making the following comments on GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s absolute tone-deafness when it comes to a major subject in American politics: our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The United States has some 68,000 troops fighting in Afghanistan. Over two thousand Americans have died in the more than ten years of that war, a war Mitt Romney has supported. Yet in his speech accepting his party’s nomination to be commander in chief, Mitt Romney said not a word about the war in Afghanistan. Nor did he utter a word of appreciation to the troops fighting there, or to those who have fought there. Nor for that matter were there thanks for those who fought in Iraq, another conflict that went unmentioned.
Leave aside the question of the political wisdom of Romney’s silence, and the opportunities it opens up for President Obama next week. What about the civic propriety of a presidential nominee failing even to mention, in his acceptance speech, a war we’re fighting and our young men and women who are fighting it? Has it ever happened that we’ve been at war and a presidential nominee has ignored, in this kind of major and formal speech, the war and our warriors?
This is just one more way in which Romney is the candidate in this race who is not in tune with his fellow countrymen, a charge he and his surrogates hurl at President Obama with boring frequency.
But I wonder perhaps if the real problem isn’t just with Romney but with our entire nation. The War in Afghanistan seldom makes the front pages of newspapers, in stark contrast to the Vietnam War which dominated the news for nearly a decade. You can hang out in a lot of coffee shops listening to conversations among all sorts of people from the broad spectrum of politics and never hear the war mentioned. It’s just not part of the national consciousness. This is one of the consequences of an all-volunteer military where it is not true that everyone knows someone who is serving, has served or could be called on to serve in combat.
But Mr. Kristol is right that for a national party’s presidential candidate to ignore an ongoing war in a speech of such importance as was Mr. Romney’s last night is unprecedented. And it speaks volumes of the kind of leader Mr. Romney would be if he were to be sent to the White House.
Paul Ryan's speech to the Republican National Convention last night was breathtaking in its unending streams of lies both about him and his party and about President Obama. Think I'm exaggerating? The WEEK compiled a list of 15 different commentators who had 15 different ways avoiding the "L-word" in describing Ryan's clearly and intentionally disingenuous talk.
Check the list. Even Fox News had to stagger back a bit. Ryan was apparently trying to "set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech," says Sally Kohn at Fox News.
We;ve been seeing this from the GOP for many years now. They obviously understand the basic principle of propaganda: tell a big enough lie loudly enough and often enough and it becomes accepted fact. Democrats aren't pure pure on this point, to be sure, but Republicans have brought this to a low art form.
Matt Taibbi's upcoming (9/13) Rolling Stone piece on GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney is devastating in its detail, accuracy and laser-like focus.
Far from being a bungling, gaffe-emitting lightweight, Taibbi wants us to see Romney for what he really is: "[T]he frontman and apostle of an economic revolution, in which transactions are manufactured instead of products, wealth is generated without accompanying prosperity, and Cayman Islands partnerships are lovingly erected and nurtured while American communities fall apart."
In his piece, Taibbi explains in lucid terms the leveraged buyout (LBO) business in which Romney and his firm, Bain Capital, were engaged, and precisely how it represents in business terms the very thing he inveighs against in the government: massive debt. "Mitt Romney is one of the greatest and most irresponsible debt creators of all time. In the past few decades, in fact, Romney has piled more debt onto more unsuspecting companies, written more gigantic checks that other people have to cover, than perhaps all but a handful of people on planet Earth," Taibbi charges.
We have forgotten, Taibbi says, that Romney is and has long been a part of the Wall Street gangs of thugs who looted the American economy, nearly brought the world's financial institutions to their knees, and made billions in the process. Not only that, but Taibbi says the highly touted rates of return Bain provided its investors were unspectactular at best and that, but for a provision in the tax code intended to help the middle class keep their homes, Bain would probably not have been able to make even that much of a return.
You owe it to yourself to read this piece. It's the most solid and precise indictment of the man who would be President of the 1% I've read.
Missouri GOP Congressman Todd Aikin's completely misinformed "legitimate rape" comment over the weekend won't cost the Republican Party a single vote.
Not because women aren't offended, even outraged by the comment, which Aikin has since retracted. But because any woman who was still supporting the Republican Party after their year-long assault on women's health and reproductive rights has already clearly indicated that for her abortion is not a litmus test issue. And every woman for whom it is a crucial concern has already decided to support Obama. The Democratic ticket holds a wide lead over the GOP slate among women of all ages, particularly those under 50 who recently split 2-to-1
against the Republicans.
Short of proposing that they lose the right to vote or to own property, my guess is the GOP has done about as much damage as it can to the women's vote this year.
Yesterday, I posted a note about a well-researched story in the Washington Post recounting some disturbing behavior by Mitt Romney during his years at Cranbrook High School in suburban Detroit. I indicated that without condoning his bad conduct, I felt the dredging up of the story was irrelevant to the 2012 Presidental election which needs to be focused on so much more pressing material.
Then Romney went on the radio to completely muddy the waters and sully his reputation further by claiming, at one and the same time, that: (a) he didn't remember the incident; (b) felt bad for it happening and (c) certainly didn't know the victim of this forgotten incident was gay at the time.
Today, several of my friends pointed me to online and print commentaries which were unanimous in their conclusion that these incidents are important to the current Presidential race. As one of my favorite writers, Joan Walsh, said on Salon.com
, "I’m not sure what’s worse – that he remembers his cruel pranks, and he’s lying about it, or that such cruelty doesn’t stand out in his memory." Either of those is a comment on his character and therefore fair game in the election.
I sit corrected.
An Obama-supporting PAC has released a new anti-Romney ad that I think is hugely unfair and unnecessarily so. The ad, according to the AP, features a photo of Romney and his cohorts in the early days of Bain Capital clowning around with $20 bills in their teeth, shirts, coats and hands.
The problem is the ad uses a 25-year-old photo to make its point. Conduct that far in the past is hardly a clear indicator of present behavior or attitude. The ad feels sort of like some competitor or enemy rummaging through old Facebook photos and finding an image of his nemesis drinking a tequila shot with his arm around a topless dancer when the guy was pledging a college frat.
Not that I don't think Mitt Romney isn't fair game for charges of being an out-of-touch rich guy who understands essentially nothing about the world of working stiffs and middle class denizens. But this picture is a poor way to make that point. Things that happened that long ago, unless they are criminal, should be off limits. They cheapen those who use them to attack others.
I'm just sayin'.
I hope the columnists that The WEEK magazine excerpted today regarding Mitt Romney's keys to winning the November election are wrong. But I'm not sure they are. And that's discouraging.
In the article
, several political commentators said that, for Romney to overcome his present deficit in the polls, he needs to unite the conservative wing of the GOP behind a "get rid of Obama at any cost" strategy, and go to on the attack in a way that is so vicious that it puts all previous negative campaigning to shame (or perhaps the opposite of shame).
IOW, don't offer any positive platform. Don't present any fresh ideas. Don't tell us how you'll govern. Just destroy Obama.
It's conventional political wisdom that negative, attacking ads are widely disapproved of, and enormously effective. This CNN piece is one of several good articles I've read recently on the subject. The researcher featured in the piece says that one reason negativity works is that negativity is more memorable than positivity. ("Think how you remember insults," she says.)
But I believe that sooner or later our better angels will prevail and we will become sufficiently disgusted with negative campaigning to punish those who engage in it. Trouble is, neither side can afford to engage in unilateral disarmament in the hopes that now is that time.
Quite a conundrum. I hope Obama's team can at least minimize anti-Romney advertising but given the success the GOP presumptive nominee has had with burying opponents under vicious attack, he's not likely to back off in the General.
The Republican Party's conservative wing — which at the moment at least is dominating the party — claims it has a three-pronged agenda: abortion, same-sex marriage, and reducing the size and cost of government.
Yet, in the period since the Nov. 2010 mid-term elections, in D.C. and around the country, Republicans have flexed their newfound muscle by focusing almost exclusively on the first two, the social issues that are flash-point topics for their base. Proposed and adopted legislation regarding a woman's right to choose and same-sex marriage has skyrocketed. Meanwhile, there's been very little about shrinking the size of government; indeed, it can be (and often is) argued that increasing focus on the first two ends up creating a larger government because of the need to enforce very private, personal, one-on-one decisions.
Regardless of all that, how about if conservatives and progressives alike agree to a one-year moratorium on any legislation that doesn't at least honestly intend to create jobs and improve the nation's economic outlook? Certainly there's enough in that arena to keep both sides thinking and arguing and (dare I think it?) negotiating and compromising for at least a year. Meanwhile, the debate about social issues can proceed unabated, just not in legislative bodies.
Wild idea, I know, but, seriously, couldn't we figure out a way to pull this off? And wouldn't we all be better off? It's only a year, people!
There have been quite a few theories bandied about suggesting that the GOP might actually benefit in the near or mid-term by nominating former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. This despite the widespread assumption that he would suffer an ignominious defeat at the hands of President Obama in the General Election.
Now here's a new reason: coattails.
Judge Roy Moore, the Alabama State Supreme Court Chief Justice who was removed from office for disobeying a Federal order to remove a huge Ten Commandments sculpture from his Courthouse, will apparently return to his old seat thanks to the outcome in Tuesday's GOP primary. The guy's not all that popular in Alabama; he's run twice for governor and gotten clobbered. But as Birmingham News pollster and political scientist Natalie Davis note, a huge turnout of evangelicals flooded the polls to help Rick Santorum win Alabama in the GOP presidential primary.
Those are, of course, the same folks who would see what Roy did not as illegal and unacceptable but as worthy of honor and respect.
How many places in the nation and for how many local and regional candidates and issues would Santorum have this same energizing effect?