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October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror" 
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
James Berardinelli wrote:
One of my objectives in writing this essay was as a litmus test to see whether the comments would stay on point or whether they would devolve into partisan bickering.

I have my answer. :)


And will that, then, serve to add another argument towards your disillusionment with the entire political process?


Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:24 pm
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
James Berardinelli wrote:
One of my objectives in writing this essay was as a litmus test to see whether the comments would stay on point or whether they would devolve into partisan bickering.

I have my answer. :)


So.... You essentially admit to troll baiting on your own forum? :shock:


Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:30 pm
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
ed_metal_head wrote:
Isn't all this back and forth exhausting? I think every country should implement some form of proportional representation because it's the only way that every vote truly counts. The system in the USA (and over here) makes it impossible for more than two parties to ever be relevant so I can understand the disillusionment of JB and others. To those who don't vote: would you cast a ballot under a PO system?

I don't know if the US could function as a parliamentary state. There's one geographically large and diverse parliamentary state (admittedly, much larger and more diverse than the US): India. And Indian politics are heavily, heavily regional--many candidates run on explicitly regional party platforms, essentially promising a spoils system. I think the US would be the same way, because we already have many members of congress (Patty Murray, Barbara Boxer, Lisa Murkowski, etc.) who are typical patronage politicians--vote for me and I'll bring home tons of pork, screw the rest of the country.

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Mon Nov 08, 2010 2:24 pm
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
firefly wrote:
That would just put her in the long tradition of anchors whose politics are transparently obvious--Murrow, Cronkite, Rather, Couric, etc.


I'm going to have to correct you on this one. Regardless of what any of these individuals did once they left the anchor's chair, none of them ever declared openly for one party or another while in it, and none ever made their partisanship as obvious as someone like Megyn Kelly. Dan Rather, for his liberal politics, never consistently pushed for one policy or another while serving in the capacity of a news anchor. What he has done since his retirement as a news anchor is different...and there is a difference, since Rather no longer represents CBS as a newsman.

In the case of Cronkite and Murrow, I think history has tended to give us a form of selective memory. Murrow is perhaps best remembered for his McCarthy broadcasts, and one of Cronkite's best-remembered broadcasts was his post-Tet Offensive broadcast where he urged an end to the Vietnam War. Apart from these, they also rarely stepped outside of the box of neutral reporter.

But even here, there's a difference. Murrow based the content of his McCarthy broadcasts on not only his own reporting, but extensive analysis and study of the reporting of others. Cronkite based his statements on two weeks of in-depth field reporting right after the Tet Offensive (one of Cronkite's numerous trips to Vietnam). They went out and did the legwork. Megyn Kelly bases her statements on her general distaste for Democrats and liberalism, but does no real reporting to back up anything she says. She is, in short, a pretty face designed to look good for TV and little more.

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Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:02 pm
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Sexual Chocolate wrote:

I'm going to have to correct you on this one. Regardless of what any of these individuals did once they left the anchor's chair, none of them ever declared openly for one party or another while in it, and none ever made their partisanship as obvious as someone like Megyn Kelly. Dan Rather, for his liberal politics, never consistently pushed for one policy or another while serving in the capacity of a news anchor. What he has done since his retirement as a news anchor is different...and there is a difference, since Rather no longer represents CBS as a newsman.


Even Cronkite chastised Rather for being transparently partisan while CBS' anchor. Some examples are here:
http://www.ratherbiased.com/compare.htm

Eg:
I hate "to be tagged by someone else's [political] label. I try really hard not to do that with other people, particularly people who are in public service and politics."
--Dan Rather to Denver-based radio talk show host Mike Rosen on November 1995.
President Bush's selection for Chief-of-Staff is a "champion of the hard-Right."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, December 1988.
"Long-time Republican activist Ken Starr..."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, January 22, 1998.

"The Bush forces went into federal court trying to stop the hand count. And at the same time, the Republican secretary of state, working under the Governor George Bush's brother, Jeb Bush, the governor of Florida, Republican secretary of state, trying to say anything past 5:00 tomorrow is illegal. That's her judgment."
--Dan Rather during a CBS News Special Report, November 13, 2000.

"President Clinton is giving some election year help to America's ranchers and farmers. The President took action today to try to boost cattle prices, which have fallen to their lowest level in ten years."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, April 30, 1996.
"The hush-hush plan afoot in Congress [by Republicans] that could make your milk prices soar. CBS News has been told that a secret deal is making its way through Congress that would increase the additives in your milk and increase the retail price of milk about 40 cents a gallon."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, February 2, 1996.



Quote:
In the case of Cronkite and Murrow, I think history has tended to give us a form of selective memory. Murrow is perhaps best remembered for his McCarthy broadcasts, and one of Cronkite's best-remembered broadcasts was his post-Tet Offensive broadcast where he urged an end to the Vietnam War. Apart from these, they also rarely stepped outside of the box of neutral reporter.


They rarely explicated their views but that doesn't mean that their reporting wasn't tinged with their partisan views, and also worked behind the scenes to advance their partisan causes. Ex: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/ynews_ts2067


Quote:
But even here, there's a difference. Murrow based the content of his McCarthy broadcasts on not only his own reporting, but extensive analysis and study of the reporting of others. Cronkite based his statements on two weeks of in-depth field reporting right after the Tet Offensive (one of Cronkite's numerous trips to Vietnam). They went out and did the legwork. Megyn Kelly bases her statements on her general distaste for Democrats and liberalism, but does no real reporting to back up anything she says. She is, in short, a pretty face designed to look good for TV and little more.

Well I think that's a matter of who you ask, particularly with Kelly. It wasn't just Kelly that noted the racial politics of the Obama administration--the Washington Post ran a big story on it. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 03982.html

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Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:29 pm
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
I don't know how often a "ReelThought" generates 6+ pages of "discussion". Some random thoughts:

-I'm continually amused when people bring up the "right wing bias of Fox"...especially in terms of elections. There are 300+million people in the U.S., of which around 240 million are of voting age. The average nightly ratings for Fox News is between 2 to 4 million viewers. So I would say that the larger percentage of the voting population that swung right this election cycle had nothing to do with real or perceived biases of Fox News.
-As far as the health care bill goes, yes reforms are needed. But some people continually harp about the insurance companies cover this and insurance companies don't cover that. Why don't you ask why 2 Tylenol pills cost $10 inside of a hospital and 10 cents outside of it? The bill didn't do much of anything to lower the basic health care costs except to try and monkey with the demand curve (i.e. there are more restrictions on what I can spend my HSA dollars on starting next year).
-Not many people knew what was in the bill when it was voted on...including the people who voted on it! So, yes, you had partisans on the left and the right cherry picking clauses to beat each other over the head with it. I mean...companies need to generate a 1099 for every vendor they do more than $600 worth of business in a year with? Are you kidding me? It also goes back to Nancy Pelosi's "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it." Not much trust from the electorate with that attitude.
-I think that the discussion here has been "spirited", but I don't think you'll be changing each other's minds. You may sway a centrist here or there, or someone who doesn't pay attention to the news, but I think we're approaching "wheel spinning" territory from here on out.

Just my 2 cents...


Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:41 pm
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Off-topic or not, I do have something to say about the health care. The GOP has been harping about getting Obamacare repealed and replace it with commonsense reforms. What are they? I haven't heard what exactly these reforms are, just that they're going to make them.


Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:41 pm
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Patrick wrote:
Off-topic or not, I do have something to say about the health care. The GOP has been harping about getting Obamacare repealed and replace it with commonsense reforms. What are they? I haven't heard what exactly these reforms are, just that they're going to make them.


A few things:
* Eliminate restrictions on interstate competition of insurance companies
* Cap malpractice lawsuits
* Set up private health care savings accounts (Jeb Bush introduced that in a few counties in FL to success)

Paul Ryan has much more in depth coverage of health care.

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Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:50 pm
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
firefly wrote:
A few things:
* Cap malpractice lawsuits


This implies allowing the legislature to tell the judiciary what it can and can't do. That's not very libertarian, in my humble opinion.

johnny larue wrote:
I think we're approaching "wheel spinning" territory from here on out.


Agreed. I don't do these kind of discussions too much anymore, because most of the time they end up like monkeys flinging poo at each other.

I do, however, have one more lengthy thing to say about journalism, which I'll type out when I'm bright-eyed and bushy tailed. Since I have worked in the profession, it is something I usually have a lot to say about.

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Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:20 am
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
firefly wrote:
A few things:
* Cap malpractice lawsuits


This implies allowing the legislature to tell the judiciary what it can and can't do. That's not very libertarian, in my humble opinion.


I have some reservations about that one but I'm stating what the GOP is thinking about, not what I would propose ;)

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Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:10 am
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
firefly wrote:
I don't see where it's stupid at all. They were reacting against the Dems' overreach and push toward social democracy.
"Reacting" is a good word. Anybody can react. Children, for example, react with hostility when they're told that they can't have what they want right away, for reasons that they're either too young or too impatient to understand. Children often react based on a false dichotomy vision of how the world works. Children sometimes react to fact and fiction alike. But children rarely react with strong goals or innovative solutions in mind, and they sure as hell don't look for those things in alternatives to whatever they're throwing a tantrum about in the moment.

As for Obama's radical leftism, you've certainly made a compelling argument about what he may have flirted with in the past, but it weakens when you examine his performance in office--the only thing worth giving a shit about unless you're actively searching for reasons to back up a prematurely established position. The legislation set in motion by his administration is not particularly radical by the standards of developed nations on this planet. Hell, it's not even particularly radical compared to America at times in its history. And as much as Obama had to fight the GOP on this stuff, they fought right back, with a rather dirty assist from the right wing rumor mill.

By the way, I did not vote for Obama in '08. Just to dispel any illusions of me as a partisan bickerer.


Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:58 am
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
All right, one last lengthy post about the media and that's it.

There are two kinds of journalists, I believe. One is the kind who puts their personal biases aside and does their job as fairly and as accurately as humanly possible. The second kind is the kind that thinks the press should be used to bring about sweeping change in the country and world. I believe that there are many more of the former in the profession than there are of the latter.

I fell under the first category. Despite my own personal feelings about issues, I put them aside when it was time to go to work. It's a surprisingly easy thing to do; at least it was for me. This is not to say that the profession does not have any subjectivity. The words a writer chooses to use and the stories a news organization chooses to cover are subjective decisions, but a good team of qualified reporters and editors should be able to make an educated judgment as to what is in the public's best interest when making these decisions. It's not easy, and that is why feedback from the public, all areas of it, is so essential.

This brings me back to Fox News. Early on, Rupert Murdoch decided that his network was going to be one that promoted his political and business interests, and not one that served the public interest. It's hard not to admire Murdoch's business savvy; he correctly realized that there was a radical fringe element in America that did not have a 24-hour network to cater to them. Murdoch filled that demand.

Fox News did not come into being because there were no conservative voices in the media prior to its existence; to believe that is foolish and delusional. Conservatives such as William Safire, Pat Buchanan, Robert Novak and George Will had long had a prominent media presence before Fox came into being.

However, Fox created a wormhole, where, instead of it being a media outlet where elected officials could address a vast section of the population, it was one where like-minded elected officials could speak directly to those who thought like them, never face tough questions, and never hear much in the way of true criticism.

But holding our elected officials accountable, and making them face tough questions, is one of the most important elements of a democratic society. A free press is one of the most important elements of making that happen, and when that element begins to break down, the deleterious effects on democracy are massive.

But the news business is a business, and Fox was profitable. Over time, the pursuit of Fox pushed MSNBC in a partisan direction, and it will more than likely push CNN in the same way too. The American people will be the ones who suffer, because the real discussion of issues on Fox and MSNBC is so sparse; Murdoch's network has created a modern-day McCarthyism where mere association with the Democratic or Republican parties makes one a target to be destroyed.

Furthermore, Fox has contributed greatly to the dismantling of the Republicans, once a great political party with a wide, diverse voting base. Their base now: mostly white, mostly older, mostly male, mostly Christian. Reagan's big tent is no more. The radicalization of our media may push the Democrats in the same way, but that remains to be seen. But what is plainly obvious is that there are millions of Americans who feel that nobody really speaks for them.

And that is Rupert Murdoch's real legacy. It is not a tale of striving and success, and not a legacy of proud achievement. Murdoch's legacy is one of poison.

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Tue Nov 09, 2010 3:23 pm
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Ken wrote:
firefly wrote:
I don't see where it's stupid at all. They were reacting against the Dems' overreach and push toward social democracy.
"Reacting" is a good word. Anybody can react. Children, for example, react with hostility when they're told that they can't have what they want right away, for reasons that they're either too young or too impatient to understand. Children often react based on a false dichotomy vision of how the world works. Children sometimes react to fact and fiction alike. But children rarely react with strong goals or innovative solutions in mind, and they sure as hell don't look for those things in alternatives to whatever they're throwing a tantrum about in the moment.


That can be said about any time the voters kick out the in-party.

Quote:
As for Obama's radical leftism, you've certainly made a compelling argument about what he may have flirted with in the past, but it weakens when you examine his performance in office--the only thing worth giving a shit about unless you're actively searching for reasons to back up a prematurely established position. The legislation set in motion by his administration is not particularly radical by the standards of developed nations on this planet. Hell, it's not even particularly radical compared to America at times in its history. And as much as Obama had to fight the GOP on this stuff, they fought right back, with a rather dirty assist from the right wing rumor mill.


I'd argue that it's not so much the literal legislation itself so much as it is the underlying philosophy behind it. The scariest thing, to me, about the health care bill is that it lays the groundwork for the government to regulate every aspect of our lives, as the government's defense of it has been that the Commerce Clause allows it to regulate all economic decisions that people make, and all decisions can be interpreted as economic ones. I also don't like that the government has now essentially absorbed the student loan industry (even though, objectively, it will in the short-term benefit me), because that represents government taking over an entire industry. Same thing with the government ownership of GM. These lay the groundwork for the government to take over any industry it sees fit.

Also, I really don't like comparing the US to European countries, because I see Europe drifting back toward serfdom. I'd prefer to compare the US to Singapore or Hong Kong :P

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Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:34 pm
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Well being from a 'serf' country (to quote firefly) from across the Atlantic, gives me another perspective on the matter.

First, a word of appreciation to James for writing this daring column.

Second, it is quite funny to see that a post that is explicitly non-partisan is sprouting a heated partisan debate. In my opinion his post is just about the disappointment about that. During election time (and let's face it, in our highly mediased world, it's always election time) partisans from both sides scream at each other and bring out great plans or ideas against each other. But when it's time to deliver, they all fall flat because to have something through congress they have to run through a minefield of compromise and lobbies. So nothing ever fundamentally changes. So your candidate doesn't deliver and the worst part of it is that he knows this beforehand, so they deliberately lie to the public because nobody will get elected if they don't promise you the sky! That is frustrating for a lot of intelligent people like James.

Third, in my country, voting is obligatory by law! That gives a unique dynamic! Populists rule this country. And that's not a good thing!


Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:12 pm
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
solkanar wrote:
Well being from a 'serf' country (to quote firefly) from across the Atlantic, gives me another perspective on the matter.

First, a word of appreciation to James for writing this daring column.

Second, it is quite funny to see that a post that is explicitly non-partisan is sprouting a heated partisan debate. In my opinion his post is just about the disappointment about that. During election time (and let's face it, in our highly mediased world, it's always election time) partisans from both sides scream at each other and bring out great plans or ideas against each other. But when it's time to deliver, they all fall flat because to have something through congress they have to run through a minefield of compromise and lobbies. So nothing ever fundamentally changes. So your candidate doesn't deliver and the worst part of it is that he knows this beforehand, so they deliberately lie to the public because nobody will get elected if they don't promise you the sky! That is frustrating for a lot of intelligent people like James.

Third, in my country, voting is obligatory by law! That gives a unique dynamic! Populists rule this country. And that's not a good thing!

I always found the notion of forced voting to be rather counter-intuitive. It has manifestly failed to achieve a material increase in voter awareness, so all you're doing is forcing people who really don't care to seek information to participate in something they have no interest in.

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Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:26 pm
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
By the way, on the subject of incivility etc.

http://www.youtube.com/user/ReasonTV#p/ ... _zTN4BXvYI

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Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:10 pm
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
solkanar wrote:
Well being from a 'serf' country (to quote firefly) from across the Atlantic, gives me another perspective on the matter.

First, a word of appreciation to James for writing this daring column.

Second, it is quite funny to see that a post that is explicitly non-partisan is sprouting a heated partisan debate. In my opinion his post is just about the disappointment about that. During election time (and let's face it, in our highly mediased world, it's always election time) partisans from both sides scream at each other and bring out great plans or ideas against each other. But when it's time to deliver, they all fall flat because to have something through congress they have to run through a minefield of compromise and lobbies. So nothing ever fundamentally changes. So your candidate doesn't deliver and the worst part of it is that he knows this beforehand, so they deliberately lie to the public because nobody will get elected if they don't promise you the sky! That is frustrating for a lot of intelligent people like James.

Third, in my country, voting is obligatory by law! That gives a unique dynamic! Populists rule this country. And that's not a good thing!


What country are you from?


Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:15 pm
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Patrick wrote:
solkanar wrote:
Well being from a 'serf' country (to quote firefly) from across the Atlantic, gives me another perspective on the matter.

First, a word of appreciation to James for writing this daring column.

Second, it is quite funny to see that a post that is explicitly non-partisan is sprouting a heated partisan debate. In my opinion his post is just about the disappointment about that. During election time (and let's face it, in our highly mediased world, it's always election time) partisans from both sides scream at each other and bring out great plans or ideas against each other. But when it's time to deliver, they all fall flat because to have something through congress they have to run through a minefield of compromise and lobbies. So nothing ever fundamentally changes. So your candidate doesn't deliver and the worst part of it is that he knows this beforehand, so they deliberately lie to the public because nobody will get elected if they don't promise you the sky! That is frustrating for a lot of intelligent people like James.

Third, in my country, voting is obligatory by law! That gives a unique dynamic! Populists rule this country. And that's not a good thing!


What country are you from?


I used to live in Belgium for 8 years and you are required to vote there
Rob


Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:18 pm
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
thered47 wrote:
James Berardinelli wrote:
One of my objectives in writing this essay was as a litmus test to see whether the comments would stay on point or whether they would devolve into partisan bickering.

I have my answer. :)


So.... You essentially admit to troll baiting on your own forum? :shock:



Very funny " A troll in your own forum". Made me laugh anyway.
Rob


Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:22 pm
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Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Robert Holloway wrote:
Patrick wrote:
solkanar wrote:
Well being from a 'serf' country (to quote firefly) from across the Atlantic, gives me another perspective on the matter.

First, a word of appreciation to James for writing this daring column.

Second, it is quite funny to see that a post that is explicitly non-partisan is sprouting a heated partisan debate. In my opinion his post is just about the disappointment about that. During election time (and let's face it, in our highly mediased world, it's always election time) partisans from both sides scream at each other and bring out great plans or ideas against each other. But when it's time to deliver, they all fall flat because to have something through congress they have to run through a minefield of compromise and lobbies. So nothing ever fundamentally changes. So your candidate doesn't deliver and the worst part of it is that he knows this beforehand, so they deliberately lie to the public because nobody will get elected if they don't promise you the sky! That is frustrating for a lot of intelligent people like James.

Third, in my country, voting is obligatory by law! That gives a unique dynamic! Populists rule this country. And that's not a good thing!


What country are you from?


I used to live in Belgium for 8 years and you are required to vote there
Rob


Yeah well sooner or later Belgium will split and that stupid law will cease to exist (there, anyway--Australia still has it).

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Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:27 pm
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