October 29, 2009

WHY I WATCH GLENN BECK

It's patently obvious why Democrats and people on the left don't like Glenn Beck. But I know plenty of people on the right who don't like him either. Usually they point out that he's a crybaby.

I'd like to point out why I do like Glenn Beck, and why his show, along with the Special Report All-Star Panel, is the only political/news programming I watch on TV.  And why I watch it every day.

Because Glenn Beck comes at us Ross Perot style, with charts and graphs and numbers. He lays out theories about what he thinks the future of our country will look like, and he always says they're just theories and he hopes he's wrong.  He doesn't just do opinion schtick, though there's plenty of that. He doesn't just interview guests and argue about the day's news, which is what every other news/opinion program on TV does. And he doesn't just cry, though there are times when his love for his country and his anguish over what it's becoming do overwhelm him.

He also takes complicated economic problems and explains them to average Americans.  (This clip is crucial to watch if you want to see the difference between The Glenn Beck Program and every other news show out there.)



The Glenn Beck model includes a chalkboard, for heaven's sake.  He spent twenty-one minutes lecturing on inflation.  And gets mega-ratings for it.  I think Americans are starving for this kind of programming.

Beck is the only TV personality I know of who consistently examines the long-term problems the US faces and points out that the "fixes" we're implementing now might end up doing us more harm than good.  Sadly, he also has a pretty good track record of being right.

Is anyone else pointing out long-term problems to average Americans?  Or are they too busy talking about balloon boy and hyping swine flu...

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October 19, 2009

MAINSTREAM TONGUE

A very good point:

John Podhoretz once remarked that all conservatives are bilingual: We speak both conservative and liberal. Liberals are monolingual, because they can afford to be. To the Obama crowd, Fox News is a foreign tongue. The “mainstream” tongue? Well, we all grew up with it, were taught in it.

When conservatives hear liberal bias, they say, “Yeah, so? The sun rises in the east.” When liberals hear conservative bias, or even a point or bit of news uncongenial to liberals, they’re apt to say, “Eek, a mouse!”

This is the same thing that makes liberals say that Rush is probably a racist even though there's no proof.  They think they understand how we think, when they're generally pretty far off the mark.

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September 05, 2009

MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE

I read the EJ Dionne opinion piece in my parents' fishwrap and thought blah blah blah and then forgot about it. 

There is an overwhelming case that the electronic media went out of their way to cover the noise and ignored the calmer (and from television's point of view boring) encounters between elected representatives and their constituents.

But later I remembered it and connected it to a graph I saw at The Corner:

EJ Dionne's core beef is probably the same as mine: that whatever the media reports is whatever becomes important.  Ignore Iraq and Afghanistan altogether and the public quickly forgets it and thinks things are going fine or winding down.  Ramp up talks on health care and that skyrockets.

The number of news stories people read or hear on an issue shapes how important they think it is.  The media has so much power in this realm.  They frame most debates and set the order of importance for national issues.

Oh, but wait, that's not the generic conclusion EJ Dionne came to...

But the only citizens who commanded widespread media coverage last month were the right-wingers. And I bet you thought the media were “liberal.”

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August 21, 2009

I'M SIDING WITH CINDY SHEEHAN?

Via Amritas, I just learned that Cindy Sheehan is still protesting the war and will camp out at Obama's vacation spot for another vigil. And apparently, the media who thought her protest was oh-so-important four years ago is now finding her lack of moral relativism inconvenient. 

Good for her for being anti-war no matter who the president is. Good for her for sticking with her convictions. I disagree with her, but I respect her consistency.

And boo to folks like Charles Gibson, who covered Sheehan's old protests like they were earthshattering news and now can't be bothered to care about her anymore. Shame on him for now saying:

Anybody who has given a son to this country has made an enormous sacrifice, and you have to be sympathetic. But enough already.

When Bush is president, she's "standing her ground." When Obama is president, it's "enough already."

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July 06, 2009

BROWN NOSER DINNER

Compare and contrast Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinners 2004 and 2009...

Bush jokes about looking for WMDs: "inappropriate", "no laughing matter", "astonishingly insensitive"

Obama jokes about having the media in his pocket: journalists roar with laughter

Holy cow, I agree with Helen Thomas on something.

By the way, this title is hilarious: Helen Thomas caught acting like a journalist - White House scandalized

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June 10, 2009

THIS ONE'S FOR GUARD WIFE

A friend of ours has been on a few dates with a girl.  I asked what she was like, and he answered with adjectives like "sweet" and "nice."  I said that was all beside the point.  I needed to get to the heart of the matter: What is her stance on Charles Krauthammer?  Because really, that's all I need to know to make new friends...

Show me your feelings on Krauthammer and I'll show you your future.

What Fox did is not just create a venue for alternative opinion. It created an alternate reality.

A few years ago, I was on a radio show with a well-known political reporter who lamented the loss of a pristine past in which the whole country could agree on what the facts were, even if they disagreed on how to interpret and act upon them. All that was gone now. The country had become so fractured we couldn't even agree on what reality was. What she meant was that the day in which the front page of The New York Times was given scriptural authority everywhere was gone, shattered by the rise of Fox News.

What left me slack-jawed was the fact that she, like the cohort of mainstream journalists she represented so perfectly, was so ideologically blinkered that she could not fathom the plain fact that the liberal media were presenting the news and the world through a particular lens. The idea that it was particular, and that there might be competing ones, perhaps even superior ones, was beyond her ken.

That's why Fox News is so resented. It altered the intellectual and ideological landscape of America. It gave not only voice but also legitimacy to a worldview that had been utterly excluded from the mainstream media.

I'm proud to be part of this televised apostasy.

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March 25, 2009

WHO WILL POLICE THE PRESS?

I know there are people out there who think that the media is in Republican pockets because it's all owned by big corporations. Really, I have always found that position untenable. I truly can't understand how anyone who listens to the news for ten minutes would possibly think it is right-wing. But those people exist, a constant reminder to me that people can hear the exact same thing and come to completely different conclusions.

But can anyone really defend the media for how they give Democrats a pass on everything? Is it possible to ignore they way Bush was treated vs Obama? I don't think it is.

A link via NRO: Forgetting about Alzheimer’s:

When President Bush and Vice President Cheney claimed that reversing their tax cuts would hurt many small businesses, the fact-checkers of the press zinged them for exaggerating the impact. Most small businesses, they pointed out, would not be affected. Good for the media: Journalists ought to inform the public when their leaders are making false or misleading statements.

But they ought to do so whether the politicians in question are Republicans or Democrats, and whether the claims help liberal or conservative causes. Last night, President Obama said that his liberalized policy on funding for embryonic stem-cell research would aid the search for cures for Alzheimer’s disease. Shouldn’t news outlets have reported that even scientists on Obama’s side of the issue say that’s a pipe dream?

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January 09, 2009

QUICK THOUGHT BEFORE BED

I hope Bono starting to write for the New York Times garners as much outrage as Joe the Plumber corresponding from Israel does...

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December 18, 2008

YES WE CAN TURN AWAY YOUR AD

Heh, this is rich. Apparently The Washington Post is selling classified ads to welcome the Obamas to the White House and has specified that they will only accept positive, glowing ads.

My favorite comment on this blog post:

It is only fair that WaPo post only positive comments for the winner of the election, after all, they did the same for Mr. Bush right? If John McCain had won, everyone knows they would have done the same for him too. I am also certain no liberals would have had a problem with that either and would have defended their decision. I am also certain McCain would have been Times 'Man of the Year' had he won, as well. That is why he was on the cover just as much as Obama was. Therefore, they are completely objective. People need to realize the myth of media bias is just silly.

Case closed.

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October 10, 2008

IT MAKES ME LIKE HIM EVEN MORE

Last night I was thinking about how everyone loves positive reinforcement. How even us hardened jerks like to hear that we're not all bad.

So I sent Neal Boortz an email.

I briefly said that I enjoy his show, that I took some heat for agreeing with him on voting, and that I was simply emailing to give him some positive feedback, which I'm sure he gets little of. I just wanted him to know that not everyone hates him.

His contact page says, "I probably won't answer your email. I rarely answer any emails. We get over 2000 a day ... do the math. Web Guy and Cristina will forward intelligent messages to me. If you're writing in to tell me you hate me, that's fine."

But he wrote me back. How awesome is that?

Even Neal Boortz has a soft spot for a compliment.

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September 29, 2008

MY KIND OF PAPER

I used to rave about the Stars and Stripes coverage when we lived in Germany, but I don't read it often now that we're home. The Girl clued me back in on it today. Read this article, which is what I think all reporting should be: good points, bad points, positive tone, actual information that's not just regurgitated from Reuters, and the 5 W's right at the beginning. I had forgotten how much I miss that newspaper.

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January 26, 2008

IGNORANCE IS BLISS

This article on the truth behind the Jena Six is just so depressing. But the part that stands out to me is this:

Bean's narrative, though, contained an interesting factual error: It stated that there had been three nooses, not two, hung from the tree at Jena High School. The error was not material, and the truth did not exonerate the perpetrators (one noose would have been too many), but to an observer examining the numerous stories about the Jena Six that flooded newspapers, radio, television, and blogs, the three nooses, which appear again and again, are a kind of journalistic dye-marker signaling a tendency on the part of the reporters to rely on Bean's narrative, his handpicked sources, and the reporting of Witt--whose frequent stories appeared nationwide in Tribune Co.-owned papers like the Los Angeles Times--instead of doing their own legwork by consulting court records and other documents, or even the Alexandria Town Talk, which accurately reported the number of nooses from the very beginning.

Some guy makes a bunch of "facts" up, and the news sources copy and disseminate it. Good heavens, are they even trustworthy at all?

And remember this the next time you read a report out of Iraq. If journalists don't even bother to interview someone in Jena to get the real story, how much of what we hear from Iraq is verified?

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January 22, 2008

OLD MEDIA

In October, I got interviewed for a Military Spouse Magazine article on how deployments mess with family planning. We had just found out that I was finally pregnant, so I had a triumphant story to tell: we had wasted most of our safe year, but it had worked out in the end.

The article just got published. So much for happy endings.
It's pretty surreal to see your happiness immortalized in a magazine after everything has gone to crap.

I've had a couple of people suggest that I try to get paid to write for a publication, but this is a prime example of why I don't have much interest in such endeavors. Talk about old media; so much has happened in the three months it took for the article to go to print that the story isn't even remotely accurate anymore.

So I'll keep writing my drivel here for free.

UPDATE:

Son of a gun...I just found this interview that I gave, dang, like last summer. Tee hee, it's about Erin!

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November 20, 2007

CRAPPY NEWS NETWORK

Woah. McQ from Q and O busts out CNN bigtime. He was watching a program on John Cena and steroid use and thought Cena's answer was evasive. Then he saw the entire tape. He asks, "If CNN can so cavalierly edit an answer in a relatively peripheral story about professional wresting, what are they doing with really important stories."

You have to go watch these two videos. It's unreal how sneaky CNN was. And, yes, Cena definitely deserves an apology.

Every time I see something like this, it makes me distrust the news even more. What else are they clipping and cutting?

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October 17, 2007

YOU MUST BE KIDDING

John Hawkins found the perfect example of how the media will come up with anything they can to make Iraq look bad. Deaths in Iraq are way down? How can we play this story? Oh, I know, an article on how Iraqi grave diggers are out of a job. Seriously. That's the story they chose to report. The death toll is down, so let's report that cemetery workers are feeling the sting in their wallets.

I hate these people.

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September 27, 2007

WOMEN DRIVE ME NUTS

John Hawkins posts that Katie Couric is still blaming her failure on the fact that the world can't handle her being a woman. Puh-lease.

Look, you can't have it both ways. You can't say that the country is progressive enough to hire you for the biggest news job ever but not progressive enough to watch you do it. CBS is in it to make money, and Hawkins is right: they wouldn't have hired you if they thought you couldn't pull in ratings. They were wrong. But it's not because they're sexist.

God, that's what I hate about women. They want to be thought of as completely equal, able to do any job that men can and bristling when anyone even suggests they can't. And then when they fail, they say it's because they're a woman and it's different. Either it's different or it's not. It can't be that you are just as good as a man when you're successful and then held back by your gender when you fail.

Male anchormen have come and gone, and none of them get to whine that they failed because they were men. Stop blaming your problems on the viewing audience. And stop viewing everything in the entire world through the lens of your gender. No one cares that you have a vagina; they only care that they don't like to watch you reading the news.

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September 09, 2007

WHAT?

Today's I-can't-believe-they-actually-wrote-that line comes from (who else) Agence France-Presse in an article about Michael Moore's new anti-Bush movie:

Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Steve Earl, Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello and Joan Baez break up the film with musical interludes.

Pop singer Cat Stevens, "who couldn't be here tonight" because he found himself on a US no-fly list after changing his name to Yusuf Islam, got a nod.

The egregious statement is bolded so it can sink in for a minute. Do they really think we're stupid enough to swallow that cause and effect chain? Cat Stevens was flying all over the place and then changed his name and accidentally got mistaken for a terrorist and now can't fly? Balderdash! Cat Stevens changed his name back in 19freaking78. He hasn't been Cat Stevens for nearly 30 years. And he's on the no-fly list because he's suspected of contributing money to Hamas, not because his name has the word "Islam" in it. And nice use of the phrase "found himself," as if the action were agent-less. He "found himself" on the list, instead of performed actions and made statements that had the authorities looking in his direction. It's all just a big snafu, right? Poor Cat Stevens just accidentally can't fly anywhere now. Mean old Bush.

If that isn't the biggest whitewashing of why Yusef Islam couldn't be in Michael Moore's movie...

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August 09, 2007

THEY TAKE IT SO LITERALLY

The people of Seattle are on the edge of their seats:

Construction delays will force journalism history buffs to wait a few more months to visit the Newseum, a museum dedicated to news reporting and the First Amendment being built near the Capitol.

Lenin's Tomb quips, "I hope it includes a special clinic for journalists whose arms dislocate from the spontaneous back-patting."

A museum dedicated to the First Amendment. Incidentally, we caught some crap on the news last week in the motel, where a talking head made a remark about "Second Amendment literalists." Nice. I'd love to hear someone sneer about First Amendment literalists and see how that goes over.

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July 13, 2007

LOST CAUSE

VDH takes The Times to task.

Critics called for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, a change in command in Iraq and at Centcom, new strategies, and more troops. But now that we have a new secretary, a new command in Iraq and at Centcom, new strategies, and more troops, suddenly we have a renewed demand for withdrawal before the agreed-upon September accounting—suggesting that the only constant in such harping was the assumption that Iraq was either hopeless or not worth the effort.

Amen to that. I had a discussion back in 2003 with a German friend who said we were wrong to go to Iraq without support from countries like France. I pointed out that the problem is that there was actually no possibility of getting France's support, that Chirac said they would not vote for war no matter what. They had already made their decision, no matter what we said or did. Same with the anti-OIF types at The Times: there's absolutely nothing we could do to ever get them to admit that Iraq is not a lost cause. So what's the point?

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July 07, 2007

NICE

A stinging quote from Matt Sanchez:

When Time magazine interviewed a bombmaker claiming to be responsible for “rising American casualties,” they forgot to ask the “sophisticated and tenacious enemy” the tough questions like, “What’s your exit strategy?” or “How broken is the insurgency?” “Could you define victory?” or even the most basic, “Why are you doing this?” The fact that the press demands accountability from one side and offers servility to the other is a very cunning strategy to win an asymmetrical war.

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