Saturday, December 04, 2004

Wheeee! (Now with update!)

So, i finished with one hell of a week in school. Lots of stuff. Kept me busy.

But now i'm not so busy!

Al Franken on why Caldwell is not a good replacement for Safire:

I said, "Where did you see [the Paul Wellstone memorial]? Did you see the thing?" He said, "Yes, I did." I said, "What, a tape of it?" And he goes, "No." "So you saw it on C-SPAN, like a repeat? Did you see it live?" "No. no. no." "Where did you see it?" "Well, I saw it on TV." "What does that mean?" "I saw it on TV." "What does that mean?" "I saw some clips of it." He saw, like, whatever Hannity & Colmes had pulled.


Ken Starr and revisionist history.

Hey! Hey you! Yeah, you! I'm talking to you, you scum-sucking media faux-news outlets! Aren't you supposed to be all about this sort of thing?

Christ, it really is 1984+20...

Speaking of 1984-like commentary, it's not three minutes hate yet--but it's at least one minute.

Also, why Novak is one of those scum-suckers.

Who is it, really, that is "out of the mainstream"?
"I begin the chapter on [Grover Cleavland], called “Constitution be damned:” “Grover Cleveland once killed a man. Two, actually. Of course, they`d already been sentenced to death. As sheriff of Erie County, New York, to avoid wasting government money on a hiring a hangman, he simply hanged the men himself.”

“You know, I just love that story,” the inspired author ghoulishly said.


Speaking of which, the Daily Howler gives you the lowdown on who wrote the New York Times' glowing review of the Bush Social Security Privatization scam scheme.

Attack, attack, attack!

But that's not all!

Jerry Falwell (yes, that one) hosted Crossfire just recently. What the bloody hell Falwell was doing hosting Crossfire i do not know. But he surely didn't dissapoint! Far from being a host, he was there to inject pro-Bush analysis into the show. Choice quotes include that the war in Iraq "...goes pretty well if you watch it on FOX"

No further commentary is needed on that point.

And lets not leave out Bill "Even Jewish people like Christmas" O'Reilly!

Brave, brave Bill O'Reilly point blank denied he had said words that he had said ten minutes earlier.

Of course, on the other hand: Bill O'Reilly has taken to defending Dan Rather for which he is getting jumped on by just about everybody. Some people are claiming "Nobody asserts that Dan Rather intentionally included false information in his story, the claims are that he was just stupid and Bill's defense sure is nice except that he's defending Dan against something nobody is accusing him of."

But of course, people like that (and they do exist) apparently missed the entire debacle and, instead, are just pretending that nobody would make such claims. (As a side note, i simply love the Orwellian name of that article as well as the "TRUEISFALSE" keyword identifying it. Though certainly not for the same reason as the author.)

Then on the other hand, there are the people who claim precisely that: that Dan Rather is a Democratic Party mouthpiece or that Bill O'Reilly is merely frightened at the speed with which bloggers dissected Dan Rather's "documents".

Of course, they should say "document". Singular. As only one out of all of Rather's documents has been even called into question. But like the good, compliant media whores they are most of our news sources know not to say such things.

Instead we get stuff about the youthful genius of Whizbang and friends.

One problem, though, is that the bloggers' arguments against Dan Rather were totally unconvincing. What happened was that somebody decided the document was false and then provided evidence to show this to be the case. For the first week of this whole scandal (read: basically the entire scandal) i saw not a single argument from the anti-Rather crowd that stood up to promote that withstood anything more than a cursory glance. The font wasn't "obviously" Times New Roman--it may well be Press Roman, Typewriter, or some other Times Roman variant. Typewriters of the time certainly could do superscripted characters. The more expensive ones could even do automatic variable height lines and kerning (two features which the CBS memo does not exhibit, despite claims that it does and that this means the memo is obviously faked). That's not to say i believe the memo to be legitimate. I believe the memo is unverifiable and thus essentially inadmissable to any serious discussion of President Bush's National Guard service during the Vietnam War.

Can we talk about the entire rest of Dan Rather's fucking sixty minute expose on Bush's national guard service now? Please?

But of course, in defending Dan Rather, O'Reilly calls down the wrath of just about every partisan hack on both sides of the aisle. I'm no fan of Mr. Oh Really, but of all the ridiculous things he has said this surely doesn't even go on the top one hundred list. Probably not the top thousand.

So is this a David Brock moment out of Bill O'Reilly or is he just covering his own ass? I don't know.

(I really wanted to put "I report, you decide" on the end of there, but the risk that someone might actually take me seriously was too great. Some day i'll have to explain why "We report, you decide" implies slanted news but today is not that day. I'll give some hints, though. The media, contrary to conventional wisdom, has an obligation to "decide" on the truth of the matter. If they can't decide (for example, if the facts don't warrant a decision) then they have an obligation to not decide. This "We report, you decide" bullshit is all about misleading the viewers and not at all about "fair" and/or "balanced" journalism. Let me further explain: if i were to treat two stories as equally true (by not "deciding" and leaving any decisions to be made up to the viewers) when they were not in fact equally true (let's say one was unverifiable due to missing information and the second was easily verifiable and, barring some massive revelation, obviously true or false) i would be effectively slanting the news. By "deciding" the media claims that a story can be decided, and furthermore in a specific direction. By not deciding (within the context of a legitimate journalistic model) the media is saying "we can't make a decision on this story at this time, so be careful". In contrast, the "we report, you decide" model implies that this never happens and that every story the news organization "reports" on can be "decided" on with the information presented within the report. Since this is obviously not the case (the world is a complex place...) the news organization in question is in reality slanting the news they present in one direction or another. Through selective reporting this can give a totally untrue picture of the world. For example, a picture in which Saddam Hussein pulled the metaphorical trigger on the September 11 WTC attacks.

Whew. That was longer than i had expected.)

In any case, this whole "memogate" thingy is reminiscent of the torch-and-pitchfork-mob crowd of the last century. Whether or not the mob is lynching someone who is actually guilty or not they're still a bloodthirsty mob on a partisan witchhunt!

Anyway, while i'm on the topic of "conservative media bias"...

Man, i really should stop linking Media Matters For America. They're probably getting like sixty links from me out of this article alone. Ah well, if the rest of the internet would stop being so bloody stupid...

Anyway, i knew Coulter couldn't keep up the pretense of being honestly concerned about racism in America for very long. Call me bitter or a "phony liberal" if you want--i was right.

Speaking of which, i was talking with someone the other day about how Canada would probably be nuked-from-orbit if they ever actually pulled a stunt like this (Note: this story is, to the best of my knowledge, a fake; whether or not CNN realizes this... it apparently originated here) Coulter provides some evidence for my case.

Back on the topic of racism:

David Horowitz has had some problems on this front. Pretty much entirely, as i understand it, of his own making.

But this time i don't want to just link to something David Brock wrote. I also want to quote a comment from a story in which Horowitz's best response to Al Franken's charge that he (Horowitz) was making racist arguments is "I know you are, but what am I?"

Statistics show that white and black people commit drug crimes at the same rates, however, black people are more often arrested and convicted. This is readily known fact based on statistics in universities. That is why people say that the disproportionate amount of blacks in prisons constitutes racism.

If Horowitz were truly interested in making a valid point, he would go through the trouble to dig up all of the current facts and statistics before spouting his opinions. The fact that he, instead, reacts by blaming black families for not raising law-abiding citizens is a prejudiced maneuver, whether he realizes it or not.

Also, in reading his article, I am aware that Horowitz, like many Americans, confuses racism with personal prejudice. He seems to be saying that he is not biased against blacks therefore what he writes is not racist. Some of Horowitz's statements, like the one I talked about above, show that he is personally prejudiced against blacks, though perhaps unconsciously, but lets say for the sake of argument that he wasn't. That wouldn't preclude any of his statements from being racist, since racism is a social dynamic in our culture that each of us learns as we live our lives. We internalize the same stereotypes we see around us daily. The trick is to become aware of those internalizations, learn to evaluate them critically, and stay conscious of how what we do and say perpetuates or fights against those streotypes.

In the end of his article, he alludes to Bill Cosby's past statements that were made in the same reacitionary vein as his, as if because a black man said it, and some black people applauded it (many did not and let Cosby know it), it is no longer racist. The Cosby example kind of proves my point - Is Cosby personally prejudiced? Or is he ignorant to how racism works as a social dynamic? Or both? He could be any of those things and all of those things, regardless of his skin color.


But of course, we all know it's really the evil liberals like Bill Clinton who are the real racists.. err... wait...

Anyway, what do you do when you're a highly politicized character assassin and the person who you attempted (more or less successfully) was not elected and so now your organization doesn't need you anymore? You beg for handouts. "Wellfare state" my ass.

---------Update!---------

First off, *ahem*, i accidentally managed to delete this post once.

Don't worry, though, i had the whole thing saved.

Anyway, here's more random stuff:

Penguins are bad at logic.

So are a certain politicians.

Therefore, certain politicians are penguins.

Tada!

*ahem*

Sorry about that.

Seriously, though.

The Rockridge Institute discusses how to talk to conservatives. And no, it isn't with a baseball bat*. You can sum it up in the title of the book they're pimping: know your values (and use them) and frame the debate.

A quick discussion of why nuclear missile defense shields (and similar sci-fi technology) is utterly useless in the modern climate (isn't Don Rumsfeld all about "modernizing the army for the new terrorist threat?) can be found here.

I, on the other hand, talk with some Republican nutcases on why internet filtering in libraries is a bad idea. I don't have high hopes for the conversation. However, this might be useful if this discussion dissolves.

Finally, Orcinus discusses hate crimes. Also, the continuing decline in federal support for civil rights.

Ann Coulter once famously said that the best way to talk to liberals, "if you must", is with a baseball bat.

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