Cheney on Obama

On Hannity’s show former Vice President Cheney said this about current President Obama:

“I think he’s been a terrible president.”  I love irony.

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.


Where do beliefs come from? #2 of 5

Plain and simple, beliefs come from experience.

Some like to make it complicated.  They want to distinguish between beliefs that are based on reason and facts, and those that are not.  Is that important, if all beliefs come from experience?  Are one person’s experiences more legitimate, or worthy than another’s?

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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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False Equivalency

At his Washington rally, and during his Daily Show interview with Chris Wallace, John Stewart claimed Fox News and MSNBC are guilty of the same kind of biased journalism.

After the Washington rally, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann argued that this is a false equivalency.

Several months ago I wrote a Facebook message to a high school classmate on this topic:

This is how I describe the difference between right-wing and left-wing media:

The liberal media use the actual words of conservatives (sometimes out of context, sometimes not) to ridicule their ideas and philosophy. The right-wing media distorts the words (and beliefs) of liberals, and then ridicules them.

You can watch for yourself, any night of the week, except weekends.

Let’s see who is right — John Stewart or me. Watch O’Reilly, Hannity, Beck, etc. and count how many times they distort liberal beliefs and then ridicule them. Do they realize they are doing this? In the language of debate competitions, they “prop up a straw man and knock it down.”

Then watch MSNBC (Schultz, Matthews, Olbermann, Maddow, O’Donnell, etc.). Which side wins the straw man competition? All the Fox News viewers who commented at the end of the linked video should try this little experiment.

Yes, John Stewart — yours is a false equivalency. Your comedy is funny because it discerns both ridiculous truths and ridiculous distortions. You need more discernment on this one.