About those approve/disapprove reports

The news media under President Obama has been proving that it’s not going to be very much protection against tyranny, unless it comes in a retro fascist costume from the early Twentieth Century. A man targeted by the Obama Administration as a fall-guy for Benghazi disappears into prison for a year? Not much noise. The administration drives people off federal land, even out of their homes, to prove a political point? Hardly worthy of note.

The one-sided perspective extends even to poll results about blame for the government shutdown. Tom Kludt phrases it in the terms of the media’s common wisdom: “Republicans continue to absorb the bulk of the blame.”

That’s not an accurate statement. The poll in question didn’t ask respondents to pick a side; it asked about approval and disapproval. Yes, 74% disapprove of the Republicans’ handling of the issue, but 61% disapprove of the Democrats’. Much of the difference, I’d propose, has simply to do with the skewed way in which current events are presented to the population. (How many Americans know, for example, that Republicans in the House have voted eleven times to fund the government?)

Much of it also has to do with the lack of specificity for “approval.” The “liberal” category’s view of the Democrats is comparable with the “very conservative” category’s view of the Republicans. It would be difficult for the Democrats to take any harder line, however, while many conservatives disapprove of the Republicans because of a presumed weakness and likelihood to cave.

Most people don’t desire to swim against the tide, especially when complicated subjects blend with overheated rhetoric, as in politics. It would be more accurate to say, of the poll, that Americans are blaming both sides for the shutdown, but that wouldn’t serve the political ends of the people doing the reporting.

Veterans rip down memorial barricades and carry them to the White House

It may be one of the hoarier clichés about the mainstream media, but it’s no less true, for that, to observe that an event like this would be major news if it happened under a Republican president (particularly one perceived as some variation of conservative):

As Twitchy reported, citizens attending the Million Vets March in Washington, D.C., Sunday tore down Barrycades at several memorials. The crowd then picked up the Barrycades and began transporting them to the White House.

Let’s state that objectively: U.S. military veterans are protesting the Obama administration’s decision to actively expend resources to close down and close off federal land in order to amplify Americans’ experience with the federal government shutdown by performing an act of civil disobedience and bringing the barricades to the White House.

This is the sort of thing that ought to wind up in Life magazine retrospectives and history books’ sidebars to give the sense of the decade. Time will tell whether it will, but given the media’s practice of pre-writing history to serve ideological ends, I’m not confident.

Politicized Fact-Checking Strikes Child-Care Unionization

A “mostly false” ruling on an issue related to unionization of child care providers offers insight into the operation of the Providence Journal’s PolitiFact team and may indicate that the target of the investigation is not the one who has been discredited.

10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 6 (Shutdown)

Justin Katz and Bob Plain talk government shutdown and extremists on 10 News Conference.

The Unfavorable Republicans

Gallup released a poll today talking about how Republicans have sunk to a new low in the favorability ratings. Now, I hate to be one of those people who simply “blame the media” for everything. At its heart, every individual and every group needs to take some accountability for its own failures and shortcomings. However, […]

“Tyrants” Who Follow the Constitution, Versus Tyrants Who Don’t

I slipped, again, and read today’s Froma Harrop column. Here’s the breezy way in which a pro Projo columnist characterizes the legal and political debate around ObamaCare:

Nothing the Tea Party people demand can’t be had through the normal political process. It happens that a duly elected House and Senate passed Obamacare. And when asked, the U.S. Supreme Court said it’s cool with it.

That’s that, sneering away so much legitimate argument that a reader remembers why he’d determined her columns not worth the effort. The “Tea Party people” are “tyrants.” Condescendingly: “They are martyrs, you see” — out there in their filthy, suspect difference.

Harrop should read an excellent column by Andrew McCarthy, who argues that the passage of ObamaCare was pure unconstitutional “fraud” and will be back before the Court on additional grounds. For the likes of Harrop, one senses, the intellectual validity of a law is chiefly determined by whether or not they like the result.

So, she insists, the tyrants are not those who control most of government, who managed to push through an ideological boondoggle as law because there was nobody with power to enforce the rules, and who are now putting up absurd barriers and shutting down businesses deliberately to cause people pain, while proving the “most closed, control-freak administration” ever (even in the eyes of a New York Times reporter). The tyrants are not the ones who apparently used the IRS and other agencies to target the Tea Party for engaging in “the normal political process.”

Rather, in Harrop’s view, the tyrants are ordinary people with the effrontery to utilize our system’s deliberate protections for political minorities. Kinda makes you worry what’s to come as our betters forget that old yack about sticking up for process and remembering that we’re all Americans, doesn’t it?

Bill Maher on World War II Vets

“Nobody said they were the brightest generation.” Wow. I guess Bill Maher doesn’t realize that if not for these veterans, he’d be doing political stand-up comedy in German. (Warning: Maher uses the F word in the video) Nice job by one of the voices of the progressives. We’ve seen lately where some of our friends […]

Know the Media by the Fact That They Haven’t Turned Away from Obama

Readers will note that today’s Providence Journal had space to inform Rhode Islanders about a comment related to same-sex marriage made by Pennsylvania’s governor. (For those who don’t know, in most cases, Rhode Islanders would have to travel through three other states to go see a friend in Pennsylvania.)

Rhode Islanders who expand their reading lists beyond their “paper of record” will discover such stories as:

  • The IRS’s (surprise, surprise) auditing a black conservative who criticized Obama
  • Park rangers’ receiving the message “to make life as difficult for people as we can”
  • Military chaplains’ being ordered not to give Mass, even on a volunteer basis
  • The administration’s intending to close areas of open water

A media industry that truly saw itself as the guardian of the people would be all over these outrages. One that is not all over them seems more likely to see itself as the guardian of a particular political party and a particular president.

Making the News “Hub of the Community” a Place People Want to Be

In the intractable problem of a waning market for newspapers, the content producers have to reflect on what their doing, not just how the executives are managing the company.

Debt Ceiling and the Democrat Projo

So Congressional Republicans put forward a plan to fund government and not ObamaCare (we will fund if). Senate Democrats changed the bill to fund government and ObamaCare (we won’t fund unless). The president says he “will not negotiate.” And the Providence Journal gives its front page story this highly irresponsible lede: “House GOP rebels stand firm on pledge to shut down government over Obamacare.”

Not surprisingly, a conservative, James Taranto, has the more reasonable take:

What we have here is not a hostage situation but a classic Prisoner’s Dilemma. If both sides cooperate, the result is unsatisfactory. If both sides defect, the result is catastrophic.

A Consistent View of Child Care Providers

A Providence Journal article on child care providers in Rhode Island gives incorrect impressions of both their pay and their prospects of doing better if unionized.

Rhode Island Is Losing for Lack of Stories

Both Rhode Island’s languishing economy and the fading strength of its paper of record may result from a lack of hope and interest, which result from a lack of any real competitive battle for the direction of the state.

The Pope Allows the World to See the Face It Needs to See

Pope Francis has not revolutionized the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church (whatever a godless media might say). But maybe the tide has turned, and the world is seeing the face of the Church that it needs to see.

Things We Read Today (56)

Explaining curious sales tax results; explaining curious headlines about the Pope; wondering what helps the 99%; not thinking part-time jobs fit the bill.

Taking Responsibility for Somebody Else’s Disclosure

Linking the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity with the Republican Party may at some point backfire on the interests of entrenched local powers, such as the labor unions and the newspaper reporters mixed up with them.

Things We Read Today (54)

Quadrupling down on Rhode Island; finding the American-statist antidote in the Ocean State; school choice as the real civil rights battle of the day; who gets media “support” and why.

Translating the Spin on Health Insurance

The language used to explain how Rhode Island’s ObamaCare insurance rates will compare with current prices, without the law, can distort whether people see the law as fair or unfair.

How Many Times Must the East Bay (and Rhode Islanders) Play the Fool?

A Providence Journal article about a toll arson is more significant as evidence that the pants of the people tasked to run and to inform the state are on fire.

Things We Read Today (53)

Republican diversity; John Galt moves to the Ocean State; RI’s employment backslide; “how could it come to that?”

Blame It on Fox? Hardly.

Blaming Fox News for making the news industry more partisan, and therefore less trustworthy, misses the point of what’s happened in the news.

Things We Read Today (52): Friday

IRS targeting continues; a handbook for manipulating the public; playing games with government investment-backstopping; healthcare on the long slide down to government destruction.

Identifying the Culprit in the MSM Decline

What’s happening to the news media these days? Perhaps it’s tough to maintain a large, popular audience from a narrow, out-of-touch tower.

Global Warming: You Mean There’s a Debate to Be Had?

The global warming debate continues, but at least we’re now to the point of debating whether there is a debate to be had.

The Radical Change You Didn’t Mean Before

The narrow intellectual framing of the news media and popular culture have a tendency to sensationalize the candid statements of contemplative people and organizations, as with Pope Francis and his comments on the “gay lobby.”

Things We Read Today (51): Wednesday

Ethical hardship in the governor’s office; IRS scandal… drip, tick, drip, tock; missing culprits in racial division; getting out of the pension business.

Natural Born Killers Society (Re-Pub)

Addendum: I wrote this post back on April 22, talking about how our society likes to glamorize the worst criminals. I just thought I’d bring it back up again…

Two Sides to Every Bill: Low Income Housing Taxes

The Providence Journal editorial board fires off another knee jerk missive, complaining that legislators are passing knee jerk legislation. The writer should have done a bit more research and offered a bit more explanation.

Portsmouth Institute 2013 Conference: “Catholicism and the American Experience,” Day 1, Roger Kimball

At the Portsmouth Institute conference on “Catholicism and the American Experience,” Roger Kimball presented the art world as a hollow religion, standing in opposition to ordinary life just because.

Representative Government? Inconceivable.

The structure of our government, these days, raises the question of whether “representative democracy” means what we think it means.

Is It Me Or Has Local Talk Radio Moved Somewhat Away from Politics?

Okay, this has been bugging me for a while.

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