My Photo

« Time To Leave | Main | Limbaugh »

October 25, 2006

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d834515c2369e200d834bf881153ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference False Evenhandedness: The Reductio Ad Absurdum:

Comments

via Atrios:


    MARK HALPERIN, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, ABC NEWS: Well, Bill, as you know in this country, we’ve got these old news organizations. The major networks, ABC, where you used to work, The New York Times, The Washington Post.

    These organizations have been around a long time. And for 40 years, conservatives have looked with suspicion at them. I think we’ve got a chance in these last two weeks to prove to conservatives that we understand their grievances. We’re going to try to do better, but these organizations still have incredible sway. And conservatives are certain that we’re going to be out to get them. We’ve got to fix that.

makes you think maybe they actually didn't care about the innacuracies in their 9/11 movie. maybe they were actually catering to the right with that. nah, that's impossible. everybody knows the media is biased to the left.

[oops! sorry, that quote was behind your O'Reilly link.]

I know I'm doing HACK something right since HACK my book's being criticized by HACK extremists on both sides HAAAAAAAACK

See a tongue-in-cheek visual that gives Mr. Mehlman a dose of his own "Innuendo" medicine...here:

www.thoughttheater.com

and the possible future horrors that are, no doubt, about to be perpetrated by Big Bird

Don't joke, have you ever seen Big Bird pissed off? Let me put it this way, have you ever been sh!t on by a pigeon? Well imagine a pigeon thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds.

That's a big pigeon.

Making stuff up: it's all just part of reporting the news.

Also on the list of making stuff up -- the right wing claim of liberal media bias.

The thing is that it wouldn't have been hard to find negative Dem ads. Some with more than a little reach for the truth. Some of the ads against Bean's and Duckworth's opponents in Illinois put out by the DCCC are pretty negative and exaggerative (is that a word?).

But the point is that compared to what you see from the Republican side the negative Dem ads seem pristine.

Hmm, 600 pounds is way too light for a 35-foot-long Twinkie. Should be more like 100,000 pounds. But I'm sure people who aren't Hollywood screenwriters are just as innumerate, hypothetically.

You know what the real story is here? It's that the Dems are not deperate enough to win to do the nasty stuff. Those of us who want to see better people and better policies rule in Washington should be dismayed, not heartened, by the electoral ethics gap.

Unfortunately smear and fear *works* - that's why those SOBs keep doing it. Unless they're willing to get down in the gutter with the opposition then the Dems are destined to perpetual minority.

I'll put dd down for the 'take off the gloves' thesis (renamed so as not to sully Bob McManus). As I've said, there is something to that. But if the Dems get as nasty as the Republicans have been (I personally have been gobsmacked by the race miscegenation line of attack on Harold Ford), they will have a battle scarred no-man's land to look over. I believe that the left side tends to be (perhaps naively) optimistic, and what you are seeing (imo as always) is the clinging to the notion that this is just a passing phase. God help us if it is not.

I think there's a huge difference between being tough but honest -- saying only things that are true, and moreover things that don't distort someone's record (the way saying 'X voted for a million and one tax increases' is, if you count votes for e.g. the Interior Dept. budget as a tax increase so long as it raises the price of a fishing license by a penny) -- between that and lying.

I have no problem with 'tough but fair'. But I really do not see why we need to ditch honesty as well. Moreover, I think it's deeply wrong. Any lie is wrong, but lying to citizens in a democracy, in an effort to get them to vote for someone you couldn't get them to vote for if you were honest, is profoundly undemocratic. This was true when LBJ ran as the peace candidate in 1964, knowing that he was going to escalate VietNam; it was wrong when Nixon ran on his "secret plan for peace" in '68 (and when he denied involvement in Watergate in '72), and it's just as wrong now. To think that we have to go there is to think that we have to join the RNC in subverting the free choices of citizens; and that's not somewhere I want to go.

It isn't just ABC running the equivalence schtick. I was amazed today to listen to a piece on negative ads called http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6383830>"Elections Loom; Now Is the Time for Negative Ads" only to find Fox's ad listed as the lone example of how Democrats are also going negative. I about went through the roof. This marks the first time I have ever actually written NPR about poor coverage of an issue.

"But I really do not see why we need to ditch honesty as well."

Well, we live in metaphors, and exaggeration is acceptable in politics. But I would settle for honesty to start, I think there are untapped resources of outrage and anger not expressed by the leadership. We do not need to treat all our opponents with politeness.

The bimbo ad is pretty near as evil as anything I have ever seen, and Ford's calm response was I guess not completely open and honest. You don't fact-check feelings.

There just seems to be a fastidiousness on the left that is unbecoming, and I think counterproductive. I am very tired, maybe I will go thru my comments on the Lizardbreath thread, and some of the other discussions of styles of argument over there to see if I can do better.

Botvinnik said the key to chess was the sacrifice, material or positional. A sacrifice differs from a combination in that the consequences are not calculable.

I have no problem with 'tough but fair'. But I really do not see why we need to ditch honesty as well.

I think the problem is that the boundaries of being honest are now so loose, it is as if the elastic has no stretch at all. I mean, in the Tennessee race, Ken Mehlman (and now Croker as well) are asserting that they can't pull the bimbo ad off the air (not to mention the jungle drums radio ad). By my definition of honest, that is an out and out lie, but by the definition of the times, no one challenged them on it, so it must be in the realm of honest discourse. Unless the boundaries on what is truthful get tightened up a bit, I see little sense in the Dems drawing their own boundaries. (note, not no sense, just little sense)

By my definition of honest, that is an out and out lie

Really? This is a point NPR didn't make, so please elaborate.

Well, Josh marshall has been all over this at TPM, so we have Croker deploring the RNC ad, yet airing a jungle drums radio ad and Mark Schmitt on the RNC 'independent expenditure' at TPM cafe. And here is TPM's first post about the kerfluffle.

Perhaps I flatter myself to think that my definition of honesty is as rigorous as Hilzoy's, but, as I said, by my definition of honest, these would fall in the realm of out and out lies and I think they would for Hilzoy, but they seem to get a pass. While Timmah did a decent impression of a journalist on MTP, why didn't he say 'are you telling me that you don't have the authority to stop an ad that runs under the RNC approval? How precisely does that work?'

I don't take Josh's WTF? comment as contradiction of Mehlman, LJ. Nor is Mark Schmitt's observation that gee, one political ad pretty much looks like another.

The ad didn't look racist to me, either. Guess that makes me a racist.

Was that last comment necessary? It implies that I think something about your internal philosophy. Well, it is all fun and games till someone gets an eye poked out.

If you don't take the WTF comment as saying that it was a lie, how about this?

Shillitude is in the eye of the beholder. But Mehlman said what I think was pretty clearly a demonstrably false, ludicrous statement. Why not call him on it?

I'm not saying that TPM dictates what I think is right and wrong, but there are at least two of us who think that Mehlman was saying something that wasn't honest.

Also on the list of making stuff up -- the right wing claim of liberal media bias.

Is it a claim when they are more and more freely admitting it?

You can look at their political contributions (the huge majority of which go to Democrats) and say to yourself, OK, they are Democrats but they don’t let that bias interfere with their reporting. You can read the paper and see for yourself the pattern of bad Republican news / good Democratic news is always front page above the fold while good Republican news / bad Democratic news is buried on A23 (that’s if they report the bad Democratic news at all). You can watch them trying to portray a great humming economy as terrible news. You can watch CNN air terrorist propaganda as some kind of balance. You can see all of that assuming you open your eyes, but still give them some benefit of the doubt.

But when they come right out and say that the MSM is good for 15 points for the Democratic candidate, when the NYT ombudsman admits his paper has a liberal bias, when BBC executives admit that the organization “is dominated by trendy, Left-leaning liberals who are biased against Christianity and in favour of multiculturalism”, what then?

How about when the ABC News political director admits on air that the media giants are liberally biased and need reform? What then? How about when a UCLA study covering 10 years of media coverage quantifies that 18 out of 20 major media outlets studied score left of center?

Still just my imagination I guess.

Mehlman and co. have even managed to ruffle some feathers north of the border with the 'Playboy Ford' ad.

"How about when the ABC News political director admits on air that the media giants are liberally biased and need reform?"

Uh, how about Halperin's a huge imbecile? OC, if you can honestly look at how the media have acted for the past six years and claim that they haven't shirked their watchdog function...

I can't seem to finish that sentence. You CAN'T claim that without being completely disingenuous. I know that's not your precise point, but wouldn't a liberal media try to keep these reactionaries in check just a teensy bit?

Maybe they would've rolled over for a radical left-wing agenda had it been pushed by those in charge, I don't know, but the facts on the ground are, they've served as a propaganda delivery system for the Bush Administration. Okay, so they skew Dem when you look at their registration--so what? Say they're a bunch of pinkos. If that's the case, they're clearly overcompensating by coddling their ideological opposites.

Look at the way things are, dude. What has happened here did not happen over the objections of the media.

Jeez, can't you guys just be glad you're on the side that's been getting its way for so long? It's doubly irritating to have your boot on my neck while you're whining about my undue influence.

That's the general you, not you personally, OC. You're just the one who brought it up before I had a decent amount of coffee in me.

Sorry for the dense block o' text--I have a tedious verbosity bias.

If you don't take the WTF comment as saying that it was a lie, how about this?

If we were all willing to take Josh Marshall's word for it, Karl Rove would long since have been frogmarched out of the White House. Marshall's as prone to being incorrect as anyone else. What I was looking for was something informative.

Was that last comment necessary? It implies that I think something about your internal philosophy. Well, it is all fun and games till someone gets an eye poked out.

That last remark wasn't directed toward you, LJ, it was just obliquely referring to those crying racist. My apologies for the wholly unintended feather-ruffling.

OC, if you can honestly look at how the media have acted for the past six years and claim that they haven't shirked their watchdog function...

Attention to duty (as you see it) and political leaning: two different things entirely.

I'm sorry, you're saying it's just my opinion that the press has a duty to question the assertions of those in power?

Damn it, Slartibartfast, now you've gone and made Mencken's ghost cry.

C'mere, ya big apparition, it's okay, shhhhhh...

I'm sorry, you're saying it's just my opinion that the press has a duty to question the assertions of those in power?

It's not just your opinion, but it might not be all that important to the media.

It's not just your opinion, but it might not be all that important to the media.

Evidently questioning the assertions of Republicans in power isn't that important to the American media. That's been pretty blatantly obvious for the past six years.

That the media has a watchdog function - in most countries with a free press, at least - is something taken for granted by a lot of people outside the US. I suspect it's only that the US media are so effin' bad at it these days that many Americans just don't even expect them to do it any more. But to claim there's a "liberal bias" in US media is flagrant nonsense, requiring a person who makes that claim to have ignored the entire US media for about ten years at least.

Okay, this is where my tone-deafness becomes an impediment--were you intending to agree with me, S-fast? 'Cause that's twice now you've done so.

It couldn't be that it is I who have been misunderstood, not with the crystal-clarity I be kickin' in tha oh-six.

No, not agreeing with you. Just saying that media bias (regardless of which way you think it swings) and attention to duty are not, in fact, the same thing. One can have one without the other, or even both at the same time.

So, to nurse this along to something like a point, you can't use inattention to duty as evidence of lack of partisanship, or vice versa.

So, to nurse this along to something like a point, you can't use inattention to duty as evidence of lack of partisanship

You can, however, notice that the media paid much more attention to a series of claimed "lies" that Al Gore was supposed to have told, about various trivial issues, when he was Vice President/Presidential candidate, and no attention at all to the much more serious lies Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and so on, have told, and Bush is actually President.

OCSteve, would you be so kind as to briefly describe in your own words the methodology and definitions that the UCLA folks used in order to perform their study? I think we would benefit from knowing exactly what it was that you think Groseclose et al were measuring.

Also, cites, please!!! There were a few things in your comment (e.g. Groseclose) that I could identify, but most were mysterious. I went to the trouble of trying to chase down a couple of those examples with unsatisfactory results.

For example, finding the Daily Mail article and the associated right-wing triumphalism was easy, but attempting to locate any actual "impartiality summit" memo led nowhere. I can see that the Daily Mail persuaded a lot of people that it had some terribly embarassing secret document, but they don't seem to have published the document itself, or even any passages from the document. Nor did they describe its provenance, other than with the word "leaked."

It's not hard to imagine such an impartiality summit taking place, along with a lot of heated discussion. But if the results were so damning why not publish the document? Or at least some juicy passages? And if it was just a heated discussion then why characterize it as conclusive? Please help me climb out of this dark pit of cynicism that I find myself in so I can take the Daily Mail article at face value.

Slartibartfast, I honestly don't know what you think you're setting me straight about.

I'm afraid I'll have to opt out of this argument until I can figure out how anything you've said runs counter to anything I've said.

And viva Douglas Adams.

It's doubly irritating to have your boot on my neck while you're whining about my undue influence.

LOL. That’s a great retort. No snark, I mean it – it actually made me LOL.

What would you call the NSA and SWIFT stories? I don’t believe they should have published – but they would certainly fit into the category of watchdog function.

I guess we see things through our filters – I’m trying to think of an example from this year that could count as them dutifully pushing administration propaganda. Coming up empty. (FNC excluded of course.)

OCSteve: What would you call the NSA and SWIFT stories? I don’t believe they should have published – but they would certainly fit into the category of watchdog function.

Didn't Bill Keller decide not to run the NSA story in the run-up to the 2004 Presidential elections? That's surely an example of the press explicitly not fulfilling its "watchdog" function - refusing to let Americans know the President currently standing for election is spying on them without any legal warrant.

If by SWIFT you mean the Swiftboat stories about Kerry, that is a perfect example of the press refusing to be watchdogs - rather than publicly debunking these lies as absurd political fabrications sponsored by the Bush/Cheney campaign, the media tended to pretend that they had to be "balanced": treat the lies the Swiftboaters were telling as if they were actual news about Kerry.

Jes - OC can speak for himself but I believe he means the story about the financial transaction monitoring. "SWIFT" being the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

That ABC miniseries about 9/11 from earlier this year was an example of pushing Bush administration propaganda, OCSteve.

Radish:

Sorry about the lack-o-links – I was in a hurry this morning. Also I thought the first couple were so well known as to not require links.

MSM is good for 15 points for the Democratic candidate:
The original link is defunct, but just google “Evan Thomas PBS 15 points”.

NYT ombudsman

ABC News political director

UCLA Study – Essentially assigning ADA scores to stories based on what think-tanks they used then comparing that to an average citizens ADA score (based on averaging Senator's ADA scores).

Regarding the BBC – I have not seen additional sources confirming the details, but I have not seen the BBC denying them either. With no denouncement from the BBC I take it to be essentially true.

Ugh: OC can speak for himself but I believe he means the story about the financial transaction monitoring. "SWIFT" being the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

*slaps forehead* D'oh.

I'm sure you're right. My bad.

Jes:

Yes I was referring to the banking, but that other SWIFT is a good example as well. I recall it being the exactly the opposite of what you say. The MSM ignored the story completely for as long as they could, until newer media pushed it out there. Once they had to carry it, you almost always saw it referenced as “debunked” or “discredited”, which is not entirely true, and to this day Kerry has yet to release his full records to the public.

Amazing how two people can have exact opposite recollections of the same event :) Filters…

I do love how the purple heart thing became such a joke to Republicans that they wore purple heart band-aid stickers on their convention floor in 2004. Support the troops my a**.

OCSteve: Once they had to carry it, you almost always saw it referenced as “debunked” or “discredited”, which is not entirely true

In the sense that many Republicans still believe that there was something to their lies? Yes, I daresay you're right about that: but in the factual sense, the Swiftboat Veterans were lying through their politically-motivated teeth.

The MSM ignored the story completely for as long as they could

Yeah, they did: I suppose because they felt it would look too "biased" to pick up on it only to point out that it was a truckload of lies, politically motivated. That is another example where they failed in their "watchdog" role: when the Bush/Cheney campaign was funding such total lies about Kerry, it should have been the role of the media to point out that B/C were lying about Kerry's war record to divert attention from Cheney's multiple medical deferments because he had "other priorities", and Bush's volunteering for a cushy option defending the state of Texas... which cushy option he deserted from shortly after drugs tests became mandatory.

Yes, I daresay you're right about that: but in the factual sense, the Swiftboat Veterans were lying through their politically-motivated teeth.

Of course it was politically motivated – they didn’t believe he was fit to be CIC. But again, I don’t recall very many of their claims being totally discredited. At a minimum they are rock solid on his Winter Soldier testimony – that is a matter of public record after all and more than enough for me.

Anyway – I don’t want to re-fight the 04 elections. 06 is less than 2 weeks away and I’ve got Diebold machines to hack :)

That ABC miniseries about 9/11 from earlier this year was an example of pushing Bush administration propaganda

That is the entertainment division, not the news division though. Now if you want to talk about bias in prime time entertainment programming – whoo-boy.

I didn’t actually see it, so I can’t judge. Most of the critiques I read after it showed claimed it was equally hard on both administrations, but I can’t say.

Now if you want to talk about bias in prime time entertainment programming – whoo-boy.

Let's, please. That should be fun.

Phil: I'd bet my last nickel 'Will and Grace' is #1 on the prime time bias list.

'Cause teh gay is obviously evidence of lib'rul bias (just ask that flaming lefty Andrew Sullivan).

OCS: But again, I don’t recall very many of their claims being totally discredited.

That would be because the mainstream media weren't fulfilling their watchdog role. I noticed that in each article that I read in a mainstream media source about the Swift Boat Vet lies, though they pointed out that all of their claims were factually discredited, they also seemed to feel it necessary to run a quote from one of the liars claiming that the lies were really true.

At a minimum they are rock solid on his Winter Soldier testimony – that is a matter of public record after all and more than enough for me.

Well, quite. How awful it would have been, for the past two years, to have a man as President of United States who was once responsible for publicly testifying about atrocities that the US military were known to have committed. I can see why a loyal Republican would feel that was enough in itself to make a candidate unfit to be Commander in Chief. A matter of public record indeed - I can see why you thought Bush was the better option. No one ever has to worry about Bush testifying - in public or private, no matter how important one might feel the issue was.

'Cause teh gay is obviously evidence of lib'rul bias (just ask that flaming lefty Andrew Sullivan).
">http://www.townhall.com/TalkRadio/Show.aspx?RadioShowId=5&ContentGuid=4cfd6acb-23ec-4993-8c47-11d1c6787024&mode=1&comments=true#commentAnchor">
James Lileks as Andrew Sullivan on Hugh Hewitt.

I'm afraid to click the link at work spartikus, got time to summarize?

The link was broken anyway. This should work

"Just after the epic Sullivan interview with Hugh Hewitt, humorist and columnist James Lileks was interviewed by Hugh on the weather, with James responding as if he were Andrew Sullivan."

From the comments:

OK, I'll be quite honest (how else should one be?), but I'd never heard of Andrew Sullivan until Hugh had him on his show yesterday. I was able to conclude in the space of about three minutes that the guy is certifiable - that everyone within earshot of Mr. Sullivan should run for cover. He's truly a nutcase who'd best keep taking his meds. Thanks for exposing this clown, Hugh. I love your show.
--Hal (Denver CO)

It would seem Mr. Sullivan is no longer on the RNC's christmas card list.

MSNBC - RNC pulls Ford 'Playboy' ad:

Danny Diaz, a spokesman for the RNC, insisted that the ad, which RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman defended Tuesday in an interview on MSNBC-TV, wasn’t being “pulled.” He said the decision had nothing to do with the controversy; instead, the ad had simply “run its course.”

Hee.

Well, I could have used Mark Foley, but was trying to be charitable to the right side of the aisle by name-dropping a less-contentious gay conservative.

Of course, Fox News keeps insisting Foley's a Democrat, so perhaps my first choice was more apt, the objections of Hewitt and co. notwithstanding.

I'm really sorry I ever spent a single frigging cent on one of Lileks' humor books. Maybe I'll just donate it to the library.

Maybe I'll just donate it to the library.

Send it to Lileks C.O.D.

Ha! "To: Ms. Natalie Lileks c/o Her Jerkwad Dad."

Phil: I'd bet my last nickel 'Will and Grace' is #1 on the prime time bias list.

'Cause teh gay is obviously evidence of lib'rul bias

I can't see Will and Grace anymore without giggling about the fact that they rejected a gay actor to play Will because he looked to straight (John Barrowman), and instead went with a straight actor who appearantly looked gay anough. That's bias, and definately not librul :)

OCSteve,
Discussions of media bias tend the bring out the knives, but I would ask you to consider it from the angle of 'playing the refs'. Take, just for a moment, as axiomatic that the liberal bias you discuss is reflective of an actual liberal bias in the population. That the majority of the population are, in the general course of events, not vehemently anti abortion, nor violently opposed to homosexuality, or that they would be happy to sip a latte from time to time. And, being generally liberal, they feel it important to give equal time to opposing views, differing perspectives, etc. because liberalism is all about compromise and triangulation. I'm not saying that you have to accept all this, but just for this point, take it arguendo. When viewed in this light, talk of 'liberal media bias' suggests that you want the media to nor represent the basic viewpoint of the populace. It is at this point that false evenhandedness gets to be problematic.

Of course, now the question becomes 'what view point truly represents the consensus', which is something we can argue about, but the discussion of liberal bias then becomes a proxy fight, and, like all proxy fights, takes us away from the underlying question.

That's my early morning take before heading off to work.

Off topic - Well, this and this should be interesting. I would pretend I had something to do with it but I'm sure John Cole would have found it anyway.

Munch munch.

Ha! "To: Ms. Natalie Lileks c/o Her Jerkwad Dad."

Come now – don’t bring kids into this. Or Jarvis.


Phil: I'd bet my last nickel 'Will and Grace' is #1 on the prime time bias list.

Well, not for me – I enjoyed the show. I don’t watch many sitcoms but that is one of my favorites over the last few years. I was sad to see it wrap. I am not a Christian fundy folks. I am not even religious. I do notice that the media slams Christians while giving other religions a pass – but I don’t have a dog in that fight.


liberal japonicus:

That the majority of the population are, in the general course of events, not vehemently anti abortion, nor violently opposed to homosexuality, or that they would be happy to sip a latte from time to time.

You are describing me to a tee. Well, espresso rather than latte :)

I just don’t see any false evenhandedness. I really do see a bias and I am willing to admit it is at least partly due to my filters. I don’t hang out in rightwing echo chambers – I come here to have my views challenged. On occasion you folks make me rethink my position. You certainly make me analyze and justify every position! That is why I hang out here.


That's my early morning take before heading off to work.

A very good take and I don’t have much to argue with. Thanks for the response.

"And viva Douglas Adams."

On that sentiment (futike though it may be) we agree.

Well, quite. How awful it would have been, for the past two years, to have a man as President of United States who was once responsible for publicly testifying about atrocities that the US military were known to have committed.

Jes,

For the most part, I am going to stop engaging you. I can find common ground with many folks here. But you and I, I think, are just so far apart that it is a waste of both of our time to engage. I only feel sorry if you truly think I am that far right – because that (IMO) makes you so far left that we have no common ground to even agree that the sky is blue.

OCSteve: this Jarvis?
;-)

(warning: NSFW)

Come now – don’t bring kids into this. Or Jarvis.

Why not? That's what unleashed Lileks's inner jerkwad to begin with: The idea that he had to do everything in his power -- no matter how many words he had to type! -- to protect his kid from the Musselman Horde awaiting on the outskirts of Minneapolis/St. Paul.

I do notice that the media slams Christians while giving other religions a pass – but I don’t have a dog in that fight.

Ugh. Both of these statements are untrue, to an almost appalling degree. As an example, does anyone here watch The Nine? If so, last night's episode is a great demonstration of just how untrue it is in re: Christianity.

Ha! Do not hit that link Hil! LOL.

Actually I was referring to Lilek's dog. Maybe I got the name wrong?

Both of these statements are untrue, to an almost appalling degree

My opinion. Again, I am not religious, so it does not impact me directly. So “both” includes “I don’t have a dog in that fight”. You will have to show me where I admit to being religious…

OCSteve: But you and I, I think, are just so far apart that it is a waste of both of our time to engage.

As you pointed out yourself, Kerry's Winter Soldier testimony is a matter of public record. You think that testimony was enough to make Kerry unfit to be President of the United States, and that was at a time when the first news of Abu Ghraib was reaching public awareness in the United States.

I agree: we're too far apart to communicate. You think it's a bad thing, in the era of Abu Ghraib, for someone to be President who, at the age of 27, testified to Congress about the atrocities committed by US soldiers in the Vietnam War. You seem to think that public, truthful testimony about what Kerry had seen and what his comrades had seen was a mistake that tarnished Kerry forever.

I can't understand that kind of thinking. To my mind, the willingness to speak truth to power is always a good thing: and a President with a track record of speaking truth and opposing military atrocities was exactly what the US was in desperate need of, in 2004. But, you feel differently. Okay.

Ugh. Both of these statements are untrue, to an almost appalling degree. As an example, does anyone here watch The Nine? If so, last night's episode is a great demonstration of just how untrue it is in re: Christianity.

Hey! Don't bring me into this! ;-)

Steve, I was counting "slams Christians" and "gives other religions a pass" as two different statements, both untrue. I didn't mean to imply that you were religious or had a dog in the fight.

I agree: we're too far apart to communicate. You think it's a bad thing, in the era of Abu Ghraib, for someone to be President who, at the age of 27, testified to Congress about the atrocities committed by US soldiers in the Vietnam War. You seem to think that public, truthful testimony about what Kerry had seen and what his comrades had seen was a mistake that tarnished Kerry forever.

Well, “truthful” would be the point of contention here. The entire thing was shown to be a sham in the end. And Kerry, even at that young age, had his finger in the wind. He was willing to betray the men he served with (albeit very shortly) for political gain.

No one who has served could support him after that. I would wager that even those in your country’s service found him reprehensible.

Jes – you accept at face value anything that fits your viewpoint. Do you go onto any winger sites and honestly consider contrary points of view?

I am here for that very reason. Show me some solid evidence or even just give me a compelling argument and I will think about it. Can you claim to do the same?

It just appears to be not worth our time.

No one who has served could support him after that.

What about the guys who served with him who campaigned for him?

What about the guys who served with him who campaigned for him?

Good point – and there were some. Have to think on that. I guess I would have to ask them if they believed and agreed with his Winter Soldier testimony. That would shape my answer more than anything and I don’t know their response to that.

Again – good point.

Man - I need some backup in here.

'Night all.

Man - I need some backup in here.

It's not a football game. Maybe he has, as you say, a good point and that's all that needs to be said.

OCSteve are you saying that the content of Kerry's testimony was wrong or untrue? Because it wasn't. I read the Winter Soldiers report when it was first published. It was entirely first person eyewitness accounts--confessions, really, by people who had the decency to feel bad about the things they had seen and done. I remember the book beinng about an innch thick and probably included fifty or sixty accounts.

There was a great deal of denial of American wrongdoing in Viet Nam just as the Abu Graib revelations were at first denied. Ol' Rush did his bit, calling the torture frat house pranks. American soldiers are humans and subject to the streses strains and character flaws of all humans. I don't understand the determined denial about American atrocities. I suppose it goes to that authoritarian personality thing about being unable to admit fault and seeing politics strictly in terms of one's own ego. I mean Rush here, not you, by the way. Anyway there really isn't any credible rebuttal to the testimony Kerry provided. Some people just didn't want to believe it and chose not to.

Yep: actual malfeasance balanced by purely hypothetical future badness -- badness that, at the moment, exists solely in the fevered imagination of ABC writers.

Is ABC not allowed to draw inferences from past experience? No other political ad ever made matches the NAACP lynching ad in 2000 for demagoguery and sheer nastiness. Well, maybe the Democratic radio ads saying that if you vote Republican, more churches would "explode" and more crosses would "burn."

Their coverage was about this election, so, no, they should not have "made inferences".

I'm back, you lucky thread, you.

Slartibartfast, I still can't figure out what we DON'T agree on. Seriously, you have twice now presented notions I am totally amenable to as though you're rebutting me. If we don't find some uncommon ground soon, you'n me are gonna fight.

OC, I think you're looking for the view from the other side, so I don't know what good any of this does coming from me, but if it greases the skids any, I was once as you are now. I mean, I opposed the Iraq invasion for pro-hegemonic reasons, so I can't claim to have turned liberal, but they've been on the right side of every argument for a pretty impressive stretch now, dude. Time for some benefit of the doubt giving.

I get it, man, really I do, but you have to understand something: Your guys are LYING TO YOU. All that stuff you're stating as fact just isn't. Got a problem with Kerry's testimony about Nam? There's a case to be made; one I find pretty vile, but a case. The case you're making is that the stuff he described didn't happen, and since you're clearly arguing in good faith, that means you've been had.

Rush Limbaugh was awesome back when he was the opposition. Every government needs its enemies. But once Newt hit him with that 4th branch shit, he became state-owned.

We used to hate state-owned, God damn it! I got the whole stack of P.J. O'Rourke hardcovers to prove it!

How the FUCK are you gonna defend, as a conservative, the fact that the GOP has its own media arm that does not identify itself as such? How is that not against everything we always said we were about?

Oh, and also? The government wants to SURVEIL US. And to arrest us without telling us why. And on and on and on. This is commie shit, is what this is. You want your side to have power? Fine, but if you want to talk ends justifying means, this is like, man, I'd slaughter a herd of cattle for a good veggie burger.

Ah well. I'll catch you around the interwebamaputer. Be warned, though, I'm a noxious blowhard, which you never would've gathered from this comment.

Steve, my own father was a 3-tour Vietnam vet and he voted for Kerry, so No one who has served could support him after that. is . . . less than accurate. See, categorical statements like that tend to get people in trouble.

As another example, btw, of prime-time TV not "slamming Christians," you should see what Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is doing with a Christian character. It even makes me like them.

Guess I should hit refresh the next time I wander away to watch a movie.

Seeing as how I just wrote War and Peace to a guy who's asleep.

And I should have added: He would absolutely agree with Kerry's Winter Soldier testimony, at least in the broad strokes if not with all the particulars. Dad spent several years on the analyst's couch and disappearing into a bottle of Smirnoff during the 80s, and this was some ten years after his last tour. Only in the last two years has he really talked to me about things that happened there. So that answers the second part of your criteria.

Sez you, Phil. Half of us get to believe that your dad spent his tour drinking champagne out of stilettos, and then Howard Kurtz can tell us the truth's somewhere in between.

clarke,

Please familiarize yourself with the posting rules. Profanity is not acceptable here, nor is it necessary.

Sorry 'bout your dad. The crassness didn't quite come off right.

I'm sorry. Sorry your rules suck!

No, seriously, sorry.

Might as well ban myself--no way I'll be able to not swear, not these days.

Steve, if me saying the f-word made it sound like I was trashing you, that totally wasn't intentional.

clarke,

Speaking as someone in whose profession profanities are generally used like commas, I think you can manage. I hope you won't leave just because you have to be more creative. :)

Who said anything about leaving? I'm just going to combine two of my greatest joys: reading this blog and putting forth no effort whatsoever.

And the last time I got creative was the Halperin joke at the top of this thread, so it's not like we're talking fertile ground here.

Thanks though. Sorry for the derail into metaland.

Clarke: back when I was in college, my friends and I decided, even without posting rules, that we were going to try to think of turns of phrase that had the sheer aptness of a lot of profanities, but weren't profane, just as an exercise in imagination. (and we thought it would be fun.) The only one I still use is 'in deep yogurt', which for some reason I love, since the idea of being, say, neck deep in yogurt is revolting on just as visceral a level as being in deep, well, whatever.

In any case, it was fun, and I recommend it.

I don't know, hilzoy. To me the yogurt seems like a far preferable choice. Do you have some sort of yogurt phobia?

Aw, c'mon, just because I'm spectacularly passive-aggressive doesn't mean you guys have to enable me.

Hilzoy, I dig where you're coming from on a language maven level, but we'll just have to agree to disagree about being neck-deep in yogurt. Never thought about it before, but it sounds kinda cool.

I feel awful that I got not one but two chief muckity-mucks expending work-units on me. I was totally using the cursing thing as an out; truth is, I hate the way I come off on these things. And yet I must remind myself of that once every so often, which is what you've been privy to here.

So to he... HECK with me, get back to the Bush-bashing.

Seriously, love your work. Stealth me'll catch you guys tomorrow.

Oh, that's weird--I just remembered I bought a movie for a dollar today, and the title of it is "Lurkers." I trust the signs, man.

OCSteve: The entire thing was shown to be a sham in the end.

Eh... no. (Others have already taken up that point better than I could.)

He was willing to betray the men he served with

By that definition of w"willing to betray", so was Joseph Darby. To you and to Darby's neighbors, that kind of betrayal may be unconscionable behavior: but to me, it shows a rare kind of courage.

Claims that Kerry's motivation in being "willing to betray" was political gain, doesn't seem to be borne out by the facts. Yes, Kerry ran for election in 1972, but he lost: according to report, because of his anti-war views.

Clarke, it's not my place to speak for our hosts, but I have the impression that genuine good will and interest in helping make the place work go a long way.

See, categorical statements like that tend to get people in trouble.

Good point. I withdraw the statement. Given your and Josh’s comments it was obviously too categorical.

Now, can I get you to also condemn this statement as too categorical?

“not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command”

Lily, Jes and others:

Yes, I maintain that Winter Soldier was less than credible. Of course atrocities occurred; I can’t point out anyone who disputes that. But it was certainly not policy from the top down carried out day to day by the average soldier. Anyone who promotes that view is smearing an entire generation of soldiers.

Winter Soldier was an event financed by Jane Fonda and others of her ilk (Jes – by your contention that Republican financing of the SWIFT Vets automatically makes anything they say suspect that is the only point I have to prove).

Mark Lane, one of the early organizers, had his book debunked by Neil Sheehan, an anti-war reporter. Even the VVAW had to distance themselves from him.

Steve Pitkin signed an affidavit in 04 stating he was pressured to give false testimony.

Organizer Al Hubbard lied about being an officer and being in Vietnam for 2 years.

I am not disputing that there was some credible testimony. I am not disputing that atrocities did in fact occur. I dispute this group attempting to paint those atrocities as official US and or military policy.

It is a soldier’s duty to refuse to carry out an unlawful order. To accept that tens of thousands of them carried out unlawful orders on a day to day basis is, well, unacceptable.

Anyway – on to another thread. I don’t want to re-fight 04 and I certainly don’t want to re-fight Vietnam.

OCSteve: But it was certainly not policy from the top down carried out day to day by the average soldier.

You seem to be equating "crimes committed on a day-to-day basis" with "policy" - something Kerry didn't do: and you seem to be equating "policy from the top down" with "the full awareness of officers at all levels of command" - something Kerry didn't do. So you are setting up a straw man and objecting to that.

Is it your contention that the atrocities committed in Vietnam were all "isolated incidents"?

The contention that these atrocities were committed with "the full awareness of officers at all levels of command" is more sweeping, I admit. But the evidence that atrocities were committed exists: are you asserting that officers were unaware of the atrocities? Presumably, you aren't arguing that no officers ever witnessed any atrocities: therefore you are asserting that at some level in the chain of command officers stopped reporting atrocities to their superiors. Presumably y

Your various citations? Mark Lane was formally disassociated from the Winter Soldier Investigation after some of the unverified interviews he published were shown to be unreliable. Stephen J. Pitkin claims in his affidavit claims both that he "neither witnessed nor participated in any American war crimes or atrocities against civilians, nor was I ever aware of any such actions" and that he "encountered anti-war protestors who, at various times, threw feces, spit, and screamed obscenities" - both claims that sound highly improbable. The myth of the anti-war protester who attacked soldiers returned from Vietnam has been widely debunked: for Pitkin to claim personal experience of it, over twenty years later, suggests that he's not reporting his personal experience but what he thinks ought to have been true.

Al Hubbard was apparently introduced on Meet the Press as a captain: "After receiving a tip that Hubbard was a sergeant and not a captain, NBC contacted Hubbard about the discrepancy. Hubbard admitted to lying about being an officer, and appeared on the Today Show the following morning. Frank Jordan, then Washington Bureau Chief of NBC News, recalls Hubbard's explanation that 'He was convinced no one would listen to a black man who was also an enlisted man.'" Obviously he shouldn't have lied, but it was hardly a consistent pattern of lies: he misrepresented himself once in a TV interview.

I am not disputing that there was some credible testimony. I am not disputing that atrocities did in fact occur. I dispute this group attempting to paint those atrocities as official US and or military policy.

That is your own straw man, OCSteve. If you want to dispute what the group was asserting, you need to dispute what they were actually saying - that the atrocities were not isolated incidents, but occurred on a day-to-day basis - do you dispute that? And that officers at all levels of command were fully aware of the atrocities - which we can see from US military reaction to atrocities being committed in Iraq may very well have also been true of Vietnam.

Anyway – on to another thread. I don’t want to re-fight 04 and I certainly don’t want to re-fight Vietnam.

Then you shouldn't have brought up the Winter Soldier testimony, should you? I admitted I got it wrong, when you said SWIFT, to assume you meant the Swift Boat Liars: you could simply have said "Yes, that's who I meant" and left it at that.

I don't thinnk the atrocity issue was ever about atrocities beng official policy except in the sense that some of the methods chosen for fighting were too broadbrush and took out too many people who were noncombatants. But that's a different discussion than the Winter Soldiers report, which was about the acts of individuals.
People identify with our team. If someone reports that the Huskies have been cheating in their recruitment efforts the initial repsonse is always "How dare you! It's our team! Don't you want us to win?" Well, except the Huskies have cheated so many times that more news about it is no longer greeted that way, but back to my point, which is that the identification with soldiers is even sronger than the identification with football players. Hence the denial, the quibbling, the search for ways to discredit. For some people that need to deny is so strong that years later thye still go psycho: the Swiftboat Liars, who misrepresented their relationship with Kerry, claimed knowledge they did not have and made stuff up. Their team had to be right because they had to be right. The guys who were actually on the boat with Kerry supported him.
My cousin has never spoken about his Viet Nam experience. For a decade or so he didn't speak to his father about anything.
Also Russian names made good swear words: Shastakovich!

From OCSteve:

That ABC miniseries about 9/11 from earlier this year was an example of pushing Bush administration propaganda

That is the entertainment division, not the news division though.

Regardless, they were claiming that the miniseries was based on the 9/11 Commission's report, when it and the facts in the report split from each other on numerous key points. And also regardless, you were not specifying the news divisions when you spoke of pushing propaganda, just of the media - and unless you're going to argue that the entertainment division is not the media, the miniseries in question counts.
Most of the critiques I read after it showed claimed it was equally hard on both administrations...
Then most of the critiques you read after it were mistaken.

As for the "MSM" talking point that I see popping up in this discussion, I do have to admit to some amusement that the right call the media "mainstream" when it is critical of them, if only for the inadvertant admission that their views are outside of the mainstream.

What about the guys who served with him who campaigned for him?

Good point – and there were some.

Far more than were in the GOP Swiftboat propaganda machine, as it happens.

Saith Phil:

As another example, btw, of prime-time TV not "slamming Christians," you should see what Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is doing with a Christian character. It even makes me like them.
I like how Harry usually comes off as being right in the arguments with Matt more often than he does.

And Lily, you raise a good point about Slavic names making good swears. I remember fondly Boris Badenov's use of "Raskolnikov!" as an epithet.

And that officers at all levels of command were fully aware of the atrocities - which we can see from US military reaction to atrocities being committed in Iraq may very well have also been true of Vietnam.

That, for me, is certainly having an impact. I don't think atrocities happened as a policy, but I do think that they happen regularly, people knew about them and didn't see them as really bad. Look at how the most famous atrocity of Vietnam, My Lai, was handled afterwards: one guy had 3.5 yrs of house arrest and that was it...

Being left of center I believe in mitigating circumstances (which is why I admire those who swim against the stream to protest), so I put a lot of the responsibility with the leadership in the army. If they loosen the rules, the grunts will slide down the slippery slope more easily since it is acceptable behaviour. But once they are back in society and out of the 'hive mind' they have to justify their behaviour to themselves. Very damaging.

Oh... and about swearwords.... lot's of SF fans here. "frell" should serve nicely :)

Here's some more left-wing media bias for you, Steve:

Weinstein Co. is claiming that NBC and the CW have refused to air national ads for the new Dixie Chicks docu "Shut Up & Sing."

But while the Peacock has specifically said it won't accept the spots because they are disparaging of President Bush, a rep for the CW strongly denies the Weinsteins version of events.

Barbara Kopple's docu, which opens today in Gotham and L.A., revisits the fierce fallout that occurred in 2003 after lead singer Natalie Maines said she was ashamed that the president is from Texas, her home state.

The national spot shows a clip of Bush authorizing troops to fight in Iraq, then cuts to a clip of Maines' comment. Next is a clip of the president saying publicly that the Dixie Chicks shouldn't have their feelings hurt if people don't want to buy their records anymore. The final frame shows Maines saying that Bush is a "real dumb (bleep)."

According to the Weinstein Co., NBC's commercial clearance department said in writing that it "cannot accept these spots as they are disparaging to President Bush."

(Emphasis mine)

Frack you, dutchmarbel, and the tralk you rode in on.

;)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Whatnot


  • visitors since 3/2/2004

November 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
            1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30            
Blog powered by Typepad

QuantCast