Learned watching cable news, #3

Week of January 30, 2012

#1.  Mitt Romney and I have another thing in common.  Neither of us can argue the greatness of free-market capitalism.  According to Joe Scarborough (CNBC, Kudlow Report, 2/2/2012), Romney doesn’t understand “free market conservatism in a way that I think a Republican nominee for a president in 2012 should understand it.”

#2.  Mitt Romney and I have one more thing in common. (Learned from the National Review Online — Kudlow)  Neither of us likes crony capitalism when it doesn’t benefit us, personally.  (Kudlow praised Romney’s debate attack on Obama administration crony capitalism.)  Both Kudlow and Romney are silent, however, on the crony capitalism that benefited Romney before 2008.  At the end of the column, Kudlow asked, “Is anyone listening?”

Dear Larry,

I don’t listen to people whose self-interest dulls their memories.  I know Republicans/conservatives believe people are naturally self-interested, which is true.  But that does not mean you should make it your highest value.

#3.  Laura Ingraham says, when Mitt Romney makes a gaffe, we all know what he really meant.   (O’Reilly, 2/2/2012)

#4.  The differences between Bill O’Reilly and me were evident in his February 2, 2012 Talking Points.  He said  the reasons for poverty in America are “poor education, addiction, irresponsible behavior and laziness.”

Then he said:

There is usually a reason people are poor in a country that has more opportunity than any other place on earth. It almost always comes back to personal circumstances. And all the government in the world is not going to change that.

Dear Bill:

Yes — It comes down to personal circumstances.  Some Americans are born into circumstances that provide less opportunity than others.  You forgot that fact — a fact that always has been and always will be true. And you are right — government can’t change that fact.

So, what is your point?  Is it that government has no role in addressing unequal opportunity?  Is it that government should have a smaller role than now?  Or is it something else?  You say you are an idea guy. You are supposed to have ideas — right?  The segment is called “Talking Points” — right?  What is your point?

You stated your belief about opportunity in America, but you are silent on a self-evident fact about opportunity everywhere.  I guess you can spin things any way you want — it’s your show.  BTW — There is no such thing as a “no-spin zone” — learned watching cable news.


Learned watching cable news, #2

Week of January 16, 2012

1.  According to Newt Gingrich, “The fact is that under President Obama more people have been added to the food stamp program than under any other president.”  (PBS Newshour, January 17, 2012)

The former Speaker forgot to say the American economy was heading for the brink of disaster, just as Obama was taking office.  Because of this second fact, it would be surprising if the first were not true.  Gingrich the historian is an abomination.  Gingrich the candidate is afraid of truth.

2.  Dick Morris, the master flip-flopper, believes both Gingrich and Romney are good presidential candidates.  (O”Reilly on Fox)  Enough said.

3.  The six vices of our uneducated nature are on display in the Republican primary race.  The GOP is no longer marching to the orders of Rove and Cheney, so Republican candidates are criticizing each other (PBS, MSNBC, CNN, even Fox).  Both Democrats and Republicans know they won’t be elected if they don’t demonstrate the six vices of:  (1) ignorance (aka) using sound-bites to explain complex issues, (2) intellectual incompetence (aka) staying on message, (3) weakness (aka) pandering, (4) fear of truth (aka) crafting an image that hides the real person, (5) pride (aka) being proud of the accident of birthplace, (6) selfishness (aka) assuring re-election before everything else. Nobody notices because the ugliness of American presidential campaigns is accepted.

4.  I grew up in Wisconsin for 37 years, so I am humbled by the Scott Walker recall efforts of normal, beautiful Wisconsinites.  During a time of middle class prosperity I learned the six virtues growing up in Appleton.

5.  Greta Van Susteren illustrated Wisconsinite beauty in her interview with Governor Walker (January 18, 2012).  Like me, she grew up in Appleton and attended Xavier High School.  I wondered how she would do, since she is on Fox.  She challenged the governor’s talking point about the recall being backed by national union financiers, reminding him twice that he relies on outside money, too.  You get integrity from a Wisconsinite, even one on Fox News.

Learned watching cable news, #1

Week of January 9, 2012

1.  Mitt Romney and I have one thing in common (CNN).  Neither of us cares about his family dog.

2. Libertarian Ron Paul and I have one thing in common (Maddow, MSNBC).  We are against the regulations we don’t like and for the ones we like.

3.  According to O’Reilly and Ben Stein on Fox, Republicans are ridiculed by talk show hosts because Hollywood is biased against Republicans, not because Republican talking points are easy to ridicule.

Democrat talking points are easy to ridicule, too; but Democrats aren’t as disciplined, unified, and uniform as Republicans.  You gotta love Republican discipline — following the orders of Rove, Cheney and Norquist for eight years, culminating in the crash of the American economy.  Republican presidential candidates are now claiming they know how to improve the economy.  I must have missed their knowledge about how to build and maintain a thriving economy, when they were in power between 2000 and 2009.

4.  Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Maher, HBO) thinks urination-gate reflects poorly on her belief that we are “the greatest country in the world.”   She condemned the Marines’ act, saying  she wants the world to know she represents many fine 18-year-olds in her Florida district.  Did she look at other countries and determine that they have fewer fine 18-year-olds or more corpse urinators?  Or is her belief that “America is the greatest country in the world” just a belief?

A Return to False Equivalency

Now that MSNBC has exploded over President Obama’s “compromise” with Republicans, I want to return to Jon Stewart’s claim that MSNBC and Fox News are guilty of the same kind of biased journalism. In my earlier False Equivalency blog I asked readers to compare how often Fox News and MSNBC commentators prop up a “straw man,” which is the debating technique that distorts an opponent’s belief, and then ridicules the distortion.

In the earlier blog I claimed MSNBC does this much less than Fox News, making a false equivalency of Jon Stewart’s claim that the two channels do the same thing from opposite perspectives. I told Stewart that political discernment makes him funny, and he needs more discernment before making MSNBC the liberal equivalent of Fox News.
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