Until Midterm Elections...

Scott versus Scott

Welcome to our blog. Here we will debate the days most serious topics and allow users the chance to discuss the topics as well. The range of topics will vary, but one thing will remain certain, the debate will rage on. Scott Lesinski is a proud conservative and Scott Jones is a proud liberal. However, the roles will switch on some topics. Stay tuned.

Scott Lesinski is currently an actuarial associate for a large human resources and insurance consulting firm in Saint Louis. He is also an avid student of US history and enjoys following current events, with an eye to their contextual relationship to the past. He is also, in fact, a former student of Mr. Scott Jones. Scott is working toward his FSA credentials, which is akin to earning a PHD in Actuarial Science.

Scott Jones is currently a high school social studies teacher at a high school in suburban St. Louis, MO. He teaches World History, AP American Government and Senior American Foreign Policy. He has a BS. Ed. (Secondary Social Studies) from the University of Missouri - Columbia and a M.A. (History) from Southeast Missouri State University. He is currently working on a dissertation in character education to earn a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Debunking Media Matters - Can we have a little context please?

Doing the work MediaMatters for America claims to be doing...Can we please have a little context with all those wonderful quotations?

Media Matter for America had been compiling a list of obvious bias that is within the news shows on FNC. The list is exhaustive and can be found at http://mediamatters.org/research/200910130047.

On Media Matters for America’s homepage, its stated mission is fighting conservative misinformation. This is a very leftwing blog. It is known by conservatives as the kingpin of the “out of context” quotation. Essentially, I would be very skeptical of anything on this website, and I will show why with the analysis that follows.

It seems as if bias is alive on FNC. Here is a sampling of the bias.America’s Newsroom (8-10 am Central Time)During the October 1 edition of America's Newsroom, co-host Bill Hemmer joined his network's smears against Department of Education official Kevin Jennings by claiming that Jennings knew of a "statutory rape" case involving a student but "never reported it." In fact, as Media Matters has confirmed, the student in question was of legal age of consent at the time he was counseled by Jennings.

http://wthrockmorton.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/artist-kevin-jennings-iowa-brewster-effect-loud.mp3

Scott, this is a link to THE AUDIO of Kevin Jennings admitting he learned of this statutory rape, of a “high school sophomore, 15 years old”. Jennings said those things. His advice was to hope that the boy had known to use a condom. This is not Republican bias, this is a HUGE news story that all the other media (State run media) covered up because they are carrying Obama’s water.


On May 6, America's Newsroom pushed the falsehood that Democrats attempted to "protect" pedophiles in voting in favor of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Hemmer teased a segment by stating that Democrats had reportedly "voted to give special protection to pedophiles." During the segment, America's Newsroom ran on-screen text that read, "House Dems vote to protect pedophiles, but not veterans"

http://www.foxnews.com/search-results/m/22234179/protecting-pedophiles.htm#q=local+law+enforcement+hate+crimes+prevention+act

Scott, here is the link to the full 6 minute segment Megan Kelly did with Rep. Steve King R-Iowa. If you watch the full segment, you’ll see that Kelly challenged King with counterpoints from what the Democrats were saying. The context of this statement, for the reader, is that during debate of the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act, King added an amendment to specifically prohibit pedophiles from any “hate crime” protection. He claimed, and cited the American Psychological Association for backup, that pedophilia was among many different “philias” that would be technically protected by the new law. The Democrats all voted against the specific protection. They claimed that since pedophilia would never be consensual, it would not be protected. That is a debate in and of itself. On the same day, for the same bill, Democrats stripped out special protections for American Veterans from hate crimes because they are apparently not historically treated badly enough to warrant protection. I think its all crap, the bill is totally unnecessary. If you beat somebody up, and you meant to do it, it doesn’t make any difference if you did it because they are gay or because they said “Cubs suck!” Stop with the thought crime legislation and trying to protect all the special little groups that liberals want to partition America up into.


During the April 29 edition of America's Newsroom, correspondent Molly Henneberg repeated the right-wing myth that under the proposed Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, religious groups "may be prosecuted for their religious beliefs if they believe that homosexuality is a sin," and the disputed claim that the legislation "could gag ministers who preach that [homosexuality is a sin], or even if a church may not want to marry a gay couple."

http://www.foxnews.com/search-results/m/22191043/freedom-of-religion.htm#q=local+law+enforcement+hate+crimes+prevention+act

I couldn’t find Molly Henneberg’s bit, but this is a link from the same show about 30 minutes later. The news anchor does not “repeat a myth”, he interviews a Steve King again about the statement that ministers would feel intimidation from the vague language of the bill. I defy you to watch this full clip and tell me you think that the Fox anchor was just blandly repeating something a Republican said. In fact, by the end of the clip, its pretty clear that the anchor is highly skeptical of the claim being made. Again, this is just an example of Fox giving Republicans some air time; something that CNN, MSNBC, CBS, or HLN does not do hardly ever.America's Newsroom encouraged viewers to get involved with April 15 "tea party" protests across the country, which Fox News had described as primarily a response to President Obama's fiscal policies. The program frequently hosted tea party organizers, and posted on-screen organizing information, such as protest dates and locations. America's Newsroom also repeatedly directed viewers to its website, which featured a list of tea party protests.


Quite frankly, this was one of the biggest news stories of 2009 and continues to be to this day. This grassroots ground swell of emotion, organization, and outrage culminated on April 15th with the single largest protest in American history, taking place in over 500 cities across the country all simultaneously. In Saint Louis alone, we had attendance of well over 6,000 people and by my rough count it was closer to 10,000. Fox news was THE ONLY news network to cover this protest with anything more than vulgar jokes about “tea-baggers” (Anderson Cooper 360). Their description of the movement as a response to Obama’s fiscal policies was spot on accurate. It appears they actually interviewed a few of the organizers and asked them why they were upset. This is hardly any evidence whatsoever of Republican bias on the part of Fox News…Fox was just the only news network to report the story accurately.

On the April 3 edition of America's Newsroom, on-screen text falsely claimed that Obama's $3.6 trillion FY 2010 budget is "4x bigger than Bush's costliest plan." In fact, President Bush submitted a $3.1 trillion budget for FY 2009 and a $2.9 trillion budget for FY 2008.

http://www.foxnews.com/search-results/m/22060135/budget-battle.htm#q=America%27s+Newsroom+Obama+Budget

To be fair, here is a link to this video segment as well. The on screen text does rotate to what you’ve got there a few times and that is clearly a mistake. I don’t have time to try and find a retraction or correction, but I’ll let this one go. It’s hard to believe Fox would on-purpose write something so blatantly false, but it’s out there.


Happening Now (10am-12 Central Time)During the February 10 edition of Happening Now, co-host Jon Scott purported to "take a look back" at how the economic recovery plan "grew, and grew, and grew." In doing so, Scott referenced seven dates, as on-screen graphics cited various news sources from those time periods -- all of which came directly from a Senate Republican Communications Center press release. A Fox News on-screen graphic even reproduced a typo contained in the Republican press release. The following day, Scott apologized -- for running the typo. Scott's apology was criticized by Washington Post media critic and CNN host Howard Kurtz, who said: "We sometimes jab at the pundits for using talking points, but in the case of Fox News anchor Jon Scott, it was literally true this week. ... You should be apologizing for using partisan propaganda from the GOP without telling your viewers where it came from. Talk about missing the point."

I can’t find this video clip to vet it.

On June 2, Scott asked if "the president's upcoming trip [to Europe and the Middle East will] be what conservatives might call another apology tour," and both Scott and co-host Jane Skinner aired cropped clips of Obama's remarks from an April 3 speech in France to falsely suggest that Obama only criticized the United States. In doing so, Happening Now joined conservative commentators and Fox News hosts who have cropped or misrepresented Obama's overseas remarks to falsely suggest, in the words of host Sean Hannity, that Obama was "blam[ing] America first" and, more broadly, that Obama's earlier overseas trip constituted an "apology tour."

http://www.foxnews.com/search-results/m/22413168/apology-tour.htm#q=Obama+apology+tour

I found this clip from the same day as the one referred to in Media Matters. Its about the same topic. Watch the clip for yourself, the host is simply repeating a quote that some republican said as a jumping off point for the rest of the discussion. To claim that simply having a host on Fox say the words “apology tour” constitutes right wing radicalism from Fox is as closed minded as mediamatters claims conservatives to be.


Live Desk (12-2 pm Central Time)On March 16, Live Desk co-host Martha MacCallum claimed that "after weeks of economic doom and gloom, the Obama administration is now singing a slightly different tune. Take a look at what was said in recent interviews this weekend." Live Desk then aired clips of administration officials purportedly giving an optimistic view of the economy, which included video of Vice President Joe Biden stating, "The fundamentals of the economy are strong." However, Biden did not make those remarks during an "interview" that weekend; he made them at a September 2008 campaign event in which he criticized statements by Sen. John McCain. MacCallum apologized the next day.

On July 30, guest co-host Gregg Jarrett suggested that the Obama Department of Justice "thinks it's OK to intimidate white people, not OK to intimidate black people at the polls."

I don’t need a clip for this. The reason Jarrett suggested this statement was because Eric Holder dropped the charges against the Black Panthers in Philadelphia of voter intimidation, which was filmed on video. Again, Scott, mediamatters takes things totally out of context and just throws up random quotes as evidence of bias. You need to do a bit more research.

On September 30, guest co-host Alisyn Camerota pushed the bogus stat that cap-and-trade would cost "every American family $1,761 annually." PolitiFact.com has labeled the statistic false and noted that the talking point has been pushed by Republicans

You’re right, that stat is false. It’s actually closer to $3,000 per family per year in higher energy costs, $393 BN in lost GDP per year, and over a million net job losses.

http://www.heritage.org/Research/EnergyandEnvironment/wm2665.cfm

Fox News SundayOn the August 23 edition of Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace hosted former Bush administration aide Jim Towey to discuss his Wall Street Journal op-ed, "The Death Book for Veterans," and in doing so promoted numerous distortions about an end-of-life educational booklet used by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). In addition to forwarding the smear that the booklet is a "death book," Wallace promoted Towey's distortion that the booklet encourages veterans to "pull the plug" -- it doesn't; Wallace and Towey both suggested that the Bush administration suspended use of the booklet -- it didn't; and Wallace claimed that a VHA document requires doctors to direct veterans to the booklet -- it doesn't.

On August 16, Wallace repeatedly advanced the conservative talking point that Democrats' health care reform proposals would create a system of rationing care, omitting the fact that rationing already happens under the current system. Indeed, Wallace did not acknowledge that rationing already occurs, even after his guest, American Medical Association president J. James Rohack, said, "[T]here's a myth that rationing doesn't occur right now. ... That's why this bill's important. It gets rid of some of the rationing that's occurring right now."

It’s not a “conservative talking point” it’s the truth. There can be no other way. Rationing is in the bill by virtue of setting arbitrary guidelines for who qualifies and who doesn’t. How on earth are we supposed to be allowed to discuss things on a news show without saying what we’re talking about.On February 22, Wallace claimed that Attorney General Eric Holder "got into office by the skin of his teeth." However, Holder was confirmed by the Senate in a 75-21 vote, and the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 17-2 in favor of reporting his nomination to the full Senate.These “news” stories from FNC are blatantly biased towards the Republican Party. I’m frankly getting tired of doing the work MediaMatters claims to be doing. For the clips I haven’t linked to, its not very hard to go on Foxnews.com and search for yourself. I think I did enough to demonstrate that you have to take context into consideration when you use quotations. I’m not going to talk about your section on analysts except to point out that these analysts show up on the opinion shows…which was my point from the outset.

It seems to me that MM is just a bit peeved at the success of an organization like Fox, which has so perfectly blended news and analysis with entertaining and informative opinion that it just annihilates the other State Run Media combined in viewers. Although in reality, even Fox pales in comparison to the reach of talk radio. I think O’Reilly has the best viewership, at close to 900,000 on a good night. Limbaugh claims an average of 20,000,000 every day.


As I pointed out in the previous post, when you compare a news organization that reports news as evenly as Fox (albeit with some bias depending on who is the anchor - as SJ has pointed out, it is really tough to completely remove your own personal biases), with "news" organizations who seek only to provide cover for Obama, Fox is certainly going to come out looking fairly right wing. However, when you actually watch Fox instead of just reading what mediamatters says they said, you find out that context is everything.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fox News Channel is an outlet for the Republican Party

In the previous posts comment sections, Scott referred to Fox News Channel as slightly left of center. I actually laughed aloud. Only conservative la-la land can Fox News Channel be considered anything that an extension of the Republican Party’s agenda.

Yet, Scott considers this as not part of the mainstream media. Interesting. The numbers tell a different story.

Neilson Media Research reports that the viewership of FNC is equal to the COMBINED viewership of CCN, MSNBC, and HEADLINE NEWS. Rush Limbaugh’s weekly listenership of 50 million people. This averages to a daily listener number of 10 million, more than the daily circulation numbers of the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times COMBINED.

Furthermore, Scott wants liberals to open their minds to other media outlets, but Neilson reports that 69% of conservatives get their news from only Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and FNC.

There is no doubt that Limbaugh and Hannity are biased towards the Republican agenda. That is their job. Just as MSNBC hired Keith Olberman to do opinion pieces, so does the right.

This is not the big deal.

Scott wants you to believe that the “liberal” media is biased while the “conservative” news organizations are not.

Conservatives claim that only the “opinion” people on Fox News are conservative, but the news shows are without bias. They could not be more long.

Media Matter for America had been compiling a list of obvious bias that is within the news shows on FNC. The list is exhaustive and can be found at http://mediamatters.org/research/200910130047.

It seems as if bias is alive on FNC. Here is a sampling of the bias.

America’s Newsroom (8-10 am Central Time)

During the October 1 edition of America's Newsroom, co-host Bill Hemmer joined his network's smears against Department of Education official Kevin Jennings by claiming that Jennings knew of a "statutory rape" case involving a student but "never reported it." In fact, as Media Matters has confirmed, the student in question was of legal age of consent at the time he was counseled by Jennings.

On May 6, America's Newsroom pushed the falsehood that Democrats attempted to "protect" pedophiles in voting in favor of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Hemmer teased a segment by stating that Democrats had reportedly "voted to give special protection to pedophiles." During the segment, America's Newsroom ran on-screen text that read, "House Dems vote to protect pedophiles, but not veterans"

During the April 29 edition of America's Newsroom, correspondent Molly Henneberg repeated the right-wing myth that under the proposed Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, religious groups "may be prosecuted for their religious beliefs if they believe that homosexuality is a sin," and the disputed claim that the legislation "could gag ministers who preach that [homosexuality is a sin], or even if a church may not want to marry a gay couple."

America's Newsroom encouraged viewers to get involved with April 15 "tea party" protests across the country, which Fox News had described as primarily a response to President Obama's fiscal policies. The program frequently hosted tea party organizers, and posted on-screen organizing information, such as protest dates and locations. America's Newsroom also repeatedly directed viewers to its website, which featured a list of tea party protests.

On the April 3 edition of America's Newsroom, on-screen text falsely claimed that Obama's $3.6 trillion FY 2010 budget is "4x bigger than Bush's costliest plan." In fact, President Bush submitted a $3.1 trillion budget for FY 2009 and a $2.9 trillion budget for FY 2008.

Happening Now (10am-12 Central Time)

During the February 10 edition of Happening Now, co-host Jon Scott purported to "take a look back" at how the economic recovery plan "grew, and grew, and grew." In doing so, Scott referenced seven dates, as on-screen graphics cited various news sources from those time periods -- all of which came directly from a Senate Republican Communications Center press release. A Fox News on-screen graphic even reproduced a typo contained in the Republican press release. The following day, Scott apologized -- for running the typo. Scott's apology was criticized by Washington Post media critic and CNN host Howard Kurtz, who said: "We sometimes jab at the pundits for using talking points, but in the case of Fox News anchor Jon Scott, it was literally true this week. ... You should be apologizing for using partisan propaganda from the GOP without telling your viewers where it came from. Talk about missing the point."

On June 2, Scott asked if "the president's upcoming trip [to Europe and the Middle East will] be what conservatives might call another apology tour," and both Scott and co-host Jane Skinner aired cropped clips of Obama's remarks from an April 3 speech in France to falsely suggest that Obama only criticized the United States. In doing so, Happening Now joined conservative commentators and Fox News hosts who have cropped or misrepresented Obama's overseas remarks to falsely suggest, in the words of host Sean Hannity, that Obama was "blam[ing] America first" and, more broadly, that Obama's earlier overseas trip constituted an "apology tour."

Live Desk (12-2 pm Central Time)

On March 16, Live Desk co-host Martha MacCallum claimed that "after weeks of economic doom and gloom, the Obama administration is now singing a slightly different tune. Take a look at what was said in recent interviews this weekend." Live Desk then aired clips of administration officials purportedly giving an optimistic view of the economy, which included video of Vice President Joe Biden stating, "The fundamentals of the economy are strong." However, Biden did not make those remarks during an "interview" that weekend; he made them at a September 2008 campaign event in which he criticized statements by Sen. John McCain. MacCallum apologized the next day.

On July 30, guest co-host Gregg Jarrett suggested that the Obama Department of Justice "thinks it's OK to intimidate white people, not OK to intimidate black people at the polls."

On September 30, guest co-host Alisyn Camerota pushed the bogus stat that cap-and-trade would cost "every American family $1,761 annually." PolitiFact.com has labeled the statistic false and noted that the talking point has been pushed by Republicans

Fox News Sunday

On the August 23 edition of Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace hosted former Bush administration aide Jim Towey to discuss his Wall Street Journal op-ed, "The Death Book for Veterans," and in doing so promoted numerous distortions about an end-of-life educational booklet used by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). In addition to forwarding the smear that the booklet is a "death book," Wallace promoted Towey's distortion that the booklet encourages veterans to "pull the plug" -- it doesn't; Wallace and Towey both suggested that the Bush administration suspended use of the booklet -- it didn't; and Wallace claimed that a VHA document requires doctors to direct veterans to the booklet -- it doesn't.

On August 16, Wallace repeatedly advanced the conservative talking point that Democrats' health care reform proposals would create a system of rationing care, omitting the fact that rationing already happens under the current system. Indeed, Wallace did not acknowledge that rationing already occurs, even after his guest, American Medical Association president J. James Rohack, said, "[T]here's a myth that rationing doesn't occur right now. ... That's why this bill's important. It gets rid of some of the rationing that's occurring right now."

On February 22, Wallace claimed that Attorney General Eric Holder "got into office by the skin of his teeth." However, Holder was confirmed by the Senate in a 75-21 vote, and the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 17-2 in favor of reporting his nomination to the full Senate.


These “news” stories from FNC are blatantly biased towards the Republican Party.

We could go even further to show the FNC is just a wing of the Republican Party. Just take a look at the list of new analysts since George W. Bush left the White House. Media Matters for America has also compiled a list of this as well.

Karl Rove, who served as George W. Bush's senior adviser and deputy chief of staff throughout most of his eight-year presidency, is a ubiquitous figure on Fox News. Since September 1, for instance, he has appeared at least 17 times -- roughly twice a week -- on prime-time programs such as Hannity and The O'Reilly Factor in his capacity as Fox News contributor and political analyst. In all but one of those instances, he has appeared alone opposite Fox hosts. (On the October 18 edition of Fox News Sunday, he appeared opposite former Democratic Party chairman Terry McAuliffe.) Moreover, Rove has repeatedly misled and misinformed during these appearances, including falsely claiming that Kevin Jennings, a Department of Education official, had engaged in "high-profile, in-your-face advocacy of things like NAMBLA and gay rights and queering elementary school curricula" and advancing the dubious claim, contradicted by the Congressional Budget Office, that the House health care bill will lead employers to "dump" coverage.

After serving as Bush's press secretary, Dana Perino became a Fox News contributor and Fox Forum columnist, appearing on Fox News' prime-time programs at least nine times since September 1, most frequently on Hannity, according to a search of the Nexis database. Perino typically appeared with other guests: She appeared with a Fox Business Network reporter in four instances, she appeared twice with Democrats or liberals (Bob Beckel and Julie Menin), and she appeared once on a Fox News Sunday panel with syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, as well as Mara Liasson and Juan Williams of NPR. She appeared alone twice. During these appearances, Perino has falsely suggested that allowing federally subsidized health plans to cover abortion is inconsistent with current law and suggested that the White House is doing "like dictators do" by criticizing Fox.

John Bolton, formerly Bush's ambassador to the United Nations, now serves as a Fox News contributor and has appeared alone opposite Fox prime-time hosts nine times since September 1. During his appearances, he has advanced misinformation, such as joining Fox host and conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck in suggesting that the Obama administration supports a one-world government.

FNC is also guilty of using former Republican office holders and candidates for office as analysts as well.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee became host of the Fox News program Huckabee after his failed bid for the GOP's presidential candidate in 2008 and has guest-hosted The O'Reilly Factor at least three times during 2009, according to a Nexis search. Moreover, in his capacity as Fox host, Huckabee has directed viewers to "go to balancecutsave.com," which redirects visitors to a Web page soliciting donations for Huckabee's political action committee, which financially supports Republican candidates and also pays his daughter's salary. Additionally, Huckabee has advanced falsehoods during his Fox appearances in 2009, including falsely suggesting that Vice President Joe Biden disclaimed responsibility for the economy and that Bush did not claim to have "inherited" a weakening economy.

Fox News political contributor Newt Gingrich, who "joined the network in 1999, marking his first television deal since leaving Congress" that year as Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, repeatedly appears on Fox News prime-time programs alone opposite Fox's conservative hosts -- while considering a run for president in 2012. Since September 1, Gingrich has appeared as a contributor or analyst on Fox News at least 10 times, including four appearances on Hannity and two appearances on The O'Reilly Factor, according to a Nexis search. In seven instances he appeared alone, he appeared twice with his wife, Callista Gingrich, to promote their documentary and books, and he appeared once on a Fox News Sunday panel with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), former DNC chair Howard Dean, and Obama transition team head John Podesta. During these and other appearances on Fox, Gingrich advanced baseless and outrageous claims, including wondering if White House communications director Anita Dunn wants to subject Fox commentators to a "Cultural Revolution" and smearing then-Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor by claiming that she "clearly supported racial quotas" in the Ricci v. DeStefano case.

FNC also allows conservative strategists and pollster to use the channel as a perch.

Fox News political analyst and Republican strategist Dick Morris is a ubiquitous presence on Fox News' prime-time programs, appearing nearly three times a week every week since September 1, according to a Nexis search. Morris has appeared alone opposite a Fox host since the beginning of September at least 20 times, appearances that are fairly evenly split among The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity, and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. During the 2008 election cycle, Morris repeatedly urged viewers to donate to an anti-Obama political action committee without disclosing that that PAC had paid a firm connected to him; in recent days, he has repeatedly used his appearances to fundraise for a conservative group opposed to health care reform for which he is chief strategist. Additionally, while on Fox, Morris has repeatedly smeared Obama and his administration, claiming, for instance, that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may challenge Obama in the 2012 primary and that Obama "delay[ed] the decision to commit troops to Afghanistan ... because he wanted this [Nobel] prize."

GOP consultant and pollster Frank Luntz has repeatedly appeared during Fox News' prime-time shows since September 1, interviewed alone a total of six times on Hannity and The O'Reilly Factor and appearing twice on Glenn Beck with several 9-12 Moms. During his Fox News appearances, Luntz -- who authored an anti-reform health-care talking points memo intended to help conservatives defeat the Democrats' health reform initiative -- has repeatedly misinformed about health care reform. For instance, he has falsely suggested that reform legislation reduces physician payments and spawned another GOP talking point, asserting that the Democrats' proposed public insurance plan is a "government option" not a "public option, which is what the White House calls it." Beck also hosted Luntz to instruct his audience on the signs "the tea party people should be carrying."

----

I do admit Scott that it is a scary thing when people listen to only one source for their news. I know you are well informed, but I think it would also be wise of conservatives to do the same thing. Fox News Channel is not a source for the “other side” of conservatism. Your claim that is a slightly left leaning organization is unfounded and grossly misrepresentative of the facts.

Whether or not it was wise of the White House to publicly attack FNC in the same way the Bush Administration did with MSNBC is another story. The White House claim that FNC is part of the Republican Party...Well, that one can be factually supported.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

American Pravda – How the State Run Media has killed Journalism

I sat down and spent 5 minutes jotting down ideas off the top of my head for reasons that real investigative journalism is dead in the State Run Media. I quickly came up with a healthy list of stories and examples that prove what I and many others on my side of the political spectrum have been saying about the Main Stream Media, namely, they are an ideological leftist bunch of propagandizing hacks.

For a bunch of people who claim to be just reporting the news, they get an AWFUL lot completely wrong and they omit very important stories, all to fit a template that is designed to elect and support Democrats. Just consider what we’ve seen in the past two weeks.

Rush Limbaugh made the news recently when his bid to buy a minority stake in the St. Louis Rams was leaked out. It took the State Run Media (SRM) five minutes to rush to print all over everywhere using absolutely made up, libelous, false quotes attributed to Rush in order to demonize him and force him out of the deal. There was NO fact checking. Not one person in the SRM called Rush to investigate, no, they used an anonymous poster’s quote from Wikipedia, that great paragon of truth. The truth is, they didn’t want to fact check the quotes because the made up racist quotes totally fit their bigoted caricature of conservatives and also, they hate that Rush has destroyed their media monopoly.

Along with this example, it took the SRM about 2 more minutes to go reach out to the other great paragons of truth and justice: Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. The fact that the media gives any level of credence whatsoever to anything those two men say further proves their total disregard for the truth. Sharpton is well known for totally fabricating the Tawana Brawley hoax and he and Jackson both were on the case when the white Duke Lacrosse players were accused of raping the black stripper down there at Duke University in ginning up racial hate and fomenting outrage over another hoax, totally designed to push a false media template. Every time a black person is said to have been wronged, Jackson and Sharpton show up to foment racial hatred no matter the actual circumstances of the case. They would have no credibility if the SRM didn’t always trot them out to fill the “white conservatives are all racist” media template, yet we can constantly count on the SRM to do exactly that.

Here’s another example. Just this week, a fake email was sent out by the “Yes Men” claiming to be the Chamber of Commerce. They claimed that the Chamber had done a 180 on Cap and Trade and was now ready to support the legislation. They even held a fake news conference where members of the SRM attended and asked questions of the hoaxer! When a real representative of the Chamber showed up to set things right, the “journalists” told him to shut up because they wanted to finish asking questions of the liar claiming to be from the Chamber of Commerce! They were in the process of getting hoaxed, and then when presented with a huge story confirming a hoax, they chose to keep getting hoaxed! All because the story of supporting Obama’s Cap and Trade agenda fit the media template. Again, we have zero fact checking and in fact, an overt denial of the truth when presented with it. Later on CNN, they interviewed the hoaxer to get his opinion on things! Does this now just demonstrate how the SRM does not have any concern for the truth? Its all about fitting a media template and supporting Obama.

Another way I can show you the utter hypocrisy of the SRM is by documenting the way in which economic news is reported under various administrations. These days, there is a news story out every day that talks about “despite emerging signs of economic recovery, jobless claims rose unexpectedly” or “tax receipts are lower than expected” or “many economists see a ‘jobless’ recovery” or “BO claims 30,000 jobs “saved or created” by stimulus plan” even when we are at 9.8% unemployment and people are begging for handouts in cities like Detroit! They are doing everything in there power to convince us the economy is coming back, that recovery is right around the corner even when they are staring all kinds of bad economic news squarely in the face.

Roll the clock back to 2005, when we had 5% unemployment. Back then, since Bush (a republican) was president, the template was “Despite unemployment dropping a tenth of a percent, some economists warn of troubling signs.” For 6 years under Bush, despite a roaring economy and better than full employment (as defined under the Clinton years), the SRM tried to convince us daily that the economy was only steps away from utter catastrophe. Its not about reporting the news, its about fitting a preformed media template that involves carrying Obama’s water every step of the way.

I can also prove this thesis to you by demonstrating some of the stories the SRM refuses to cover. It took the SRM two full weeks to finally write ANYTHING about the ACORN scandal involving the fake pimp and prostitute getting tax advice at 4 different ACORN offices throughout the country…and when they did, they talked about how conservatives were spinning the story! (new york times perpetrated that one)

What about the treatment of the tea partiers, who gather by the millions on April 15th to protest wasteful government spending and taxation, in calling them “teabaggers” and doing everything in their power to discredit the message, instead of reporting on the whys and wherefores of the movement? How about the complete lack of coverage of the near 2 million people who peacefully marched on Washington DC on September 12, 2009? You had to go to the UK times to find out any real news about that, which turned out to be the largest protest ever held on American soil. You would think such a story would get some inquisitive journalist’s attention, but no, since the message was anti-Obama, it got a few seconds or a few lines at the end of the newscast.

I could go on and on here with example after example, but I wanted to keep this post to under the length of Stephen King’s The Stand.

In short, if you only watch CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, or you only read the NYTimes, the Post Dispatch, or blogs at Politico.com, you really need to expand your horizons. You are being brainwashed by a state-controlled propaganda outlet. Challenge your convictions by trying something new like Fox News ( I know Hannity is opinion…but check out Fox’s Sunday shows). Click on www.drudgereport.com where all kinds of headlines are posted constantly. Do some independent thinking. Don’t let the State Run Media, America’s Pravda, control you.

Friday, October 16, 2009

President Obama and the Vanquished Vision

This post may come as a surprise to many readers, but I think it is time for someone on the Left to admit it. The enormous political capital that President Obama came to D.C. with in January has evaporated in nine short months. He has shortchanged the reason many people voted for him in the first place.

My main reason for voting for President Obama was his dedication to true health insurance reform. Senator McCain’ plan just didn’t pass the muster for me because it seemed to much of the status quo and run by the health insurance companies.

As I have mentioned in previous entries, this is more than just reform for me. This is a moral issue. The wealthy get to live long lives while the poor must suffer with inadequate service that is passed on to everyone else anyway.

Scott and I have both posted about various reform measures and have, in many cases, found common ground in breaking the monopoly of health insurance (they do have special anti-trust exemptions), increasing competitiveness in the health services, lowered premiums, improved choices and universal affordability through tax credits.

As I posted before, this could be achieved at the cost of $100 billion per year (depending on the income threshold for which he $2,500 tax credit would be eliminated), which would reduce the Federal deficit and the deficits of the various States by eliminating the costs of Medicare and Medicaid (currently costing the Federal Government and the various States close to $500 billion).

However, President Obama and his Congressional counterparts have developed a bill that would cost over $2 trillion dollars over ten years and add to the deficit by $700 billion over that ten years. This is according to Senator Majority Leader Reid on the Senate floor two days ago (uspoliticsonline.com).

Now, if it was just health care reform costs that we were talking about, then maybe we could work out the numbers. After all, this was President Obama’s main campaign promise to the American people.

However, President Obama has pulled a President Clinton on us. If you remember, President Clinton came to office in 1993 with a promise to reform health care. However, he wasted the opportunity with several blunders early in his term, which among them was the infamous “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” compromise over the presence of homosexuals in the armed forces.

The promise of health care reform vanished with the stupid stimulus program (I would remind regular readers that I never have been record as a supporter of the stimulus program). President Obama’s first action was not on health care.

HIS FIRST PLAN OF ACTION WAS TO SPEND $800 BILLION ON A STIMULUS PACKAGE AND ANOTHER $400 BILLION IN BUSH’S FLAWED TARP LEGISLATION.

President Obama spent $1.2 trillion in his first 100 days in office. He bailed out the auto industry, continued Bush’s ill-advised bailing out of Wall Street, and now comes to the table asking for more.

I don’t blame conservatives, liberals, progressives, libertarians, communists, socialists, capitalists, fascists, anarchists, and etc if they are upset here.

My priority was and is health care. President Obama’s promise to the American people during the election was that health care reform was his top priority. He said health care reform was the key to economic recovery. He said health care was the most important issue the American people will have to deal with during the next 25 years.

However, he no longer has the political capital to fight for the reform I voted for in the first place. Despite 68% of Americans favoring a public option in health insurance (Gallup), President Obama can’t keep his party in line on the public option.

Say what you want about George W. Bush, he was able to keep his party together on the big issues - stimulus checks in 2001, tax cuts, Medicare prescription drug coverage. President Obama, I hope that this short letter gets to your attention somehow, someway.



Dear Mr. President:

This is not the change I imagined. You and your Congressional Democrats have floundered the greatest opportunity we will ever have. You came to office with a clear mandate on one issue – health care reform. The differences between you and Senator McCain were marginal on most of the issues, but health care was not one of those.

You come to office and immediately spend $1.2 trillion. You inherit a budget deficit of $1.2 trillion (that was a big argument against the Republicans and President Bush in the election) and immediately add $600 billion in bailouts and stimulus.

You had to use a lot of political muscle to get the stimulus and auto industry bailouts approved.

You have none left.

Mr. President, count me among those disappointed.

We had a vision of addressing one of the great injustices in the American Dream. We had a vision of living up to the Declaration of Independence’s great truths. We had a vision that one day people of all incomes could get quality health care to enhance the quality of their lives.

Mr. President, I fear the vision is vaquished.

When you look for reasons why you were unable to live up to the great promise we had hoped for on our path to health care for all, the mirror is all you need. You spent too much political capital - as well as money - too fast and not on the priorities you promised in the primaries and the general election.

If you can pull this off and surprise me, it would be a truly miraculous event. However, I’ve been around the block too much to realize that miracle is pure fantasy. The Republicans have too much momentum right now.

I remember the Clintons in 1993. Another vision that was vanquished.

Sincerely,
Scott J.

P.S. I was hoping for a longer honeymoon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Removing the Limbaugh Post - An Explanation

First, I have removed my most recent post concerning Rush Limbaugh and racism. It is not because I have been convinced that Limbaugh is not a racist. While the two quotes concerning slavery and James Earl Ray have no real basis in fact and I was wrong for reporting them as such (I did have credible sources that have also been duped). I do believe him to be a racist based on other comments.

The problem is that I accidently implied that those who support Rush Limbaugh also share his beliefs concerning race. This is not the case and, after consulting with Scott, I realize the possibility that people would think that since Scott has used Limbaugh as a source for economic and constitutional issues, that readers would think that he endorses Limbaugh's, in my view, racist remarks.

I know for a fact that Scott does not hold these beliefs. When he posted that conservatives are not racist, it is because he is a conservative and does not hold racist beliefs. From this, he generalized to the entire conservative population, which I do believe some hold very racist views. Scott is not one of them and I did not mean to imply this.

In attacking Limbaugh's racism, I fell guilty to a logical fallacy that I hate when other people make and I am able to recognize my mistake. In fact, if we could all avoid this fallacy, I think the world would be better.

Just because I believe Limbaugh to be filled with racial bigotry/insensitivity, it does not discredit him in other areas. His opinions concerning the economy, the Constitution, the proper role of government and other issues before our government are valid. He is a credible source and a real expert on such matters. Just because he might be considered a racist by some (including me), does not deny his expertise on other matters. Scott L. has the right to quote and cite Limbaugh on these matters and this does not in any way indicate that he supports everything Limbaugh says.

In fact, if Rush Limbaugh and others of his ilk (Hannity, Beck, Olberman) could stop with the childish name calling of their opponents, I would be more willing to listen. The philosophy they espouse has credibility and deserves a rightful place at the political table. In fact, I often quote Limbaugh in my classes as I discuss the two views on an issue. It is just the incessant name-calling that turns me away from these conservative and liberal pundits.

What good to the political discourse does Limbaugh do by saying he's sending vacuum cleaners to Sotomayor or calling then-Senator Obama a halfrican-American? What about his Barack The Magic Negro bit? I know Limbaugh supporters will claim that it is just a joke, but you can't claim to be color-blind and then make these type of statements.

Disagree with the policies, but stop the name calling and using stereotypes as humor. It doesn't serve the public good. I know my attack was on Limbaugh and not the other broadcasters, but he is the one I am most familiar with because I used to be a listener. I have never listened to Beck, Olberman or Hannity.

Unfortunatley, my post was just like what they do to their opponents. I resorted to discrediting the source and not discussing policy. At the same time, I implicated my fellow blogger whom I respect more than he probably realizes. He uses Limbaugh as a credible source on topics on which Limbaugh is a credible source.

There is nothing wrong with that so long as the issues are discussed and name calling is avoided, which is something that Scott does better than Limbaugh could ever hope to do.

In fact, when Scott posted on the way that supporters of Obama were claiming racism about critics of the President, Scott was subjected to name-calling from commenters that were unable to counter his argument. It seems as if Limbaugh/Olberman disease is alive here as well.

Because of these reasons, I removed the post because it would do nothing more than resort in name-calling on the race issue where dialogue is never positive and implications are imagined on all sides of the debate.

We would, unfortunately, succomb to the Limbaugh/Olberman disease of name-calling and not discussing the issues.

I would also like to add, my post was not concerning Limbaugh's inclusion in a possible ownership group of the St. Louis Rams. Any free person has the right to buy anything legal. Limbaugh is free and the Rams are legal (at least the franchise and not the play on the field, which might be criminal).

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Definition of Insanity...Stimulus 2?

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20091008/D9B76AUO0.html

We haven't discussed the economy for a while on this blog, and I saw this headline on Drudge today, which really got me thinking that this is a great teachable moment.

Just to recap:

Unemployment rate is 9.8%. U6 unemployment is 17%. Our economy is hemorraging jobs and our deficit for FY 09 is $1,400,000,000,000. The Congress recently voted to increase our debt ceiling above $10,000,000,000,000. In just 1-2 years, we'll see our debt climb over $12,000,000,000,000.

As a result, many nations are secretly (well, not so much secretly anymore) discussing switching to a different currency than the dollar for the oil trade. The Chinese have suggested one world currency, and others have expressed an interest in using a different currency other than the USD for the world's reserve currency.

Obama's own economists, along with such notable names as Alan Greenspan, predict our economy will remain in a slump for the next 9-15 months at least, depending on who you ask. The discussion has centered on the fact that we will not be experiencing a typical "V" shaped recovery, where we slope down for a while, then hit the bottom and come back. Rather, some economists are saying we'll do a "W" shape or a "U" shape...drawing out the recessionary phase for a prolonged period of time.

Obama himself has said he expects unemployment to crest over 10% before coming back down, even after he threatened that if we did not immediately pass his "stimulus" bill without letting the Congress read it first, we'd see unemployment over 8% (WTF?)

In spite of all this terrible economic news, Obama has continued to push his healthcare takeover, which has recently been scored by the CBO at $830,000,000,000. I, for one, do not accept that number, since every single major government program has cost far more than predicted, while running into bankruptcy and failing to address the problem it seeked to fix (see "the great society", public education, social security, medicare, medicaid, etc).

Furthermore, the Cap and Trade boondoggle has not gone away. Despite all kinds of evidence that the Earth is entering a cooling trend due to record low sun spot activity, we are constantly told that in order to prevent global warming, we have to submit to thousands more each year in taxes and reduced economic growth.

Enter "Stimulus 2". Although, Pelosi and her brethren don't want to call it that. Wonder why? Maybe because the ideas floated are as good as this one proposed by former Republican-In-Name-Only-Convert-To-Democrat-To-Get-Reelected Arlen Specter for stimulating job growth:

"A proposal by Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., would provide a $4,000 tax credit, to be paid out over two years, for each new employee. His office could not provide a cost estimate."

This idea represents the height of ignorance and exemplifies the kind of thinking that leads us into these types of recessions. Does Mr. Specter actually think by offering $4,000, he'll get companies to hire people? Why do companies hire people?

Companies and businesses, large and small, hire people when they have work they need help doing. If the salary of the new hire is $50,000, the cost to the employer is closer to $75,000-$85,000 including taxes and benefits. Thus, the $4,000 tax credit is totally useless.

What I ask is this: Why, in the face of such utter failure of government, do we find ourselves looking to government for answers? Government got us into this mess with its over-regulation, fraud and corruption. We've spent 9 months steadily losing jobs with no sign of recovery. Already, unemployment benefits have been voted into extension. Calls for more "stimulus" are proof that the original has not succeeded in doing what was promised (I contend that it has done precisely what was intended, but that is another topic).

Why not try something else? Only 14% of the "stimulus" bill has been spent (because most of it is slotted for 2010 and should be more aptly named "The Democrat ReElection Act of 2009"). Lets just cancel the rest of the stimulus and totally eliminate Corporate and Capital gains taxes for 2 years. You want economic growth? I'll give you economic growth.

I read a story last month from the Whitehouse that claimed the stimulus has "saved" over 1 million jobs. We've lost about 3 million since it was passed, but somehow, by some magical statistical analysis, Obama discovered that we "saved" 1 million.

Folks, this is just ridiculous. Here we are, facing double digit unemployment, and instead of hearing positive ideas and feedback regarding the president's economic policies, all we have are totally unprovable claims of "Well it would have been WAY worse had we not acted!"

How the heck do they know? You can't prove a negative. What you can do is look at the results, now 9 months in, and reevaluate your policy.

A typical recession lasts somewhere between 5-11 months, if left alone for the market to correct. This one began in December of 2007. Its October 2009. Remember those UCLA economists who determined that the Great Depression lasted about 7-8 years longer than it should have BECAUSE of FDR's actions?

I wish Obama had read that study. Unfortunately, it appears we are doomed to repeat history.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Appeasement? I Hardly Think So

Turns out Republican concerns about the foreign policy of the Obama Administration were totally and completely unfounded.

If I remember the story correctly, President Obama’s willingness to engage Iran on the nuclear issue tantamount to appeasement, which they assumed to be a wrong strategy. When Defense Secretary Gates announced the United States would be giving up efforts on building an ICBM missile shield in Eastern Europe, conservatives screamed we were giving up our national security and appeasing Russia. Hmmmm…

Let’s first look at the premises of these two attacks before moving on to the facts of the last few days.

Appeasement…Since Neville Chamberlain returned from Munich in March 1939 and exclaiming the he has achieved peace for our time, the word appeasement has been used as a attack to the weakness of an opponent. While I wrote a paper on Neville Chamberlain (www.mysocialstudiesclass.com/Chamberlain.pdf) and examined the practical issues facing England and France as they also tried to deal with the return of German power, this is not the place to discuss Chamberlain in a positive or negative light.

Quite frankly, it is always preferable to seek peaceful alternatives to war. War should always be a last result, which is why Carl von Clausewitz called war “diplomacy by another name.” Its funny how conservatives forget some of the biggest acts of appeasement since the end of the world wars.

Richard Nixon’s normalizations of relations with Communist China…China has always been a close ally of the United States as China dealt with the problems of European involvement in their affairs. The United States and China worked closely together against the Japanese from 1933-1945. In fact, the sorry state of the Japanese army was largely due to the brave fighting of Chinese soldiers, which allowed the United States the power to bring the war to an end on our terms. In 1949, however, China’s Communist Party gained control of the mainland and the traditional capital of Beijing. At that time, Harry Truman refused to recognize the communist government in Beijing. Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson continued the policy.

Hoping to seize on a possible breakdown in relations between the Soviet Union and China, Nixon worked to move Communist China out of the hegemony of the Soviet Union and into the sphere of the Western World. China on our side was better than China on their side, despite the communist nature of its government…APPEASEMENT

Ronald Reagan’s military support of the Afghan “freedom fighters…Despite the obvious anti-Western rhetoric and demands for a worldwide Islamic State, Ronald Reagan began militarily supporting the rebels in Afghanistan in their attempts to defend Afghanistan from Soviet takeover. The main leader of the Afghan resistance movement…Osama bin Laden.

Ronald Reagan’s selling of weapons to release American hostages in Lebanon…If you can’t see how this is APPEASEMENT, then you are too close-minded or partisan to talk to.

Missile-Defense…This was never going to work. Since 1987, the United States has spent over $500 billion on developing this ability to shoot down ICMBs. While technology has allowed us to do marvelous things, this is not one that is not ready, nor is it needed. The purpose of the defense shield was to intimidate Russia. President Obama, as well as the National Security Administration and Defense Secretary Gates (a Bush appointment), realize this missile shield was the only thing between the United States and Russia, especially on the Iran issue. How would defending against a non-threat in Russia while not moving to protect ourselves against a possible threat from Iran be a threat to our national security?

Unbelievably, according to the conservative train of thought, Russia has moved to the United States' position concerning Iran.

Yesterday, after Russia threatened to vote with the U.N. Security Council in condemning Iran and a possible use of force to shut down the underground nuclear facility, Iran announced it would stop the enrichment of Uranium in their country and allow Russia to enrich to “electricity-grade” uranium. In addition, Iran agreed to set a hard date deadline to allow the International Atomic Energy Commission inspectors into the country. Furthermore, President Obama’s ability to guide American foreign policy has allowed the voice of the United States to be joined in equal force with the voices of Great Britain and France. Together, these three are much stronger,

It seems to this observer, President Obama’s strategy of engaging Iran and negotiating common ground seems to moving American foreign policy towards a non-war settlement of the Iranian nuclear question. Is this appeasement? I don’t know, but it is effective.

The alternative…The United States is not in a military position to invade Iran. A nuclear attack against Iran could provoke an equal response from Russia.

Another alternative…Israel launching a major military offensive (with nuclear weapons a possibility) against Iran and sending the entire region into a third world war.

I don’t think the word appeasement should be applied to President Obama’s foreign policy. Pragmatism is a better word. Especially viewed with the pragmatism of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

Without a doubt, conservative hawks lost this one. And for the better.