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August 28, 2008

Comments

"Free" emergency rooms, of course, are billed to the people who show up without insurance. They just don't pay the bill if they cannot afford it and are eventually forced into bankruptcy. It's hard to believe that a Republican wouldn't know that. The other problem is that this system increases costs for all. We must never forget that we pay as much per capita in government funding for health care as any other developed nation, but get 40% less. So much for the efficiency of the free market.

This John Goodman is clearly far more stupid than any character the actor ever played, but not nearly as funny.

This would be John Goodman in "Barton Fink". Only slightly more evil.

I'm not for socialized medicine, but I have to say this is the dumbest, most inane, idiotic 'idea' I've heard in a long time.

Bravo, Mr. Goodman.

You've succeeded in making George Bush seem intelligent and articulate.

Best title evah!

OT - Drudge is saying that the identity of McCain's running mate will leak at 6pm today and be "confirmed" at 8pm. I vote for Mittens.

I'm not for socialized medicine

Neither is Barack Obama. He's for national health insurance. Medicine will still be provided by the private sector, and insurance will be available from private providers as well.

There's no socialism there. Actually, few countries have socialized medicine. I believe the UK is the only real example in the industrialized Western world.

Countries like France and Canada guarantee coverage more than run a socialized system.

It's hard to believe that a Republican wouldn't know that.

I don't find it particularly hard. Deeply uninformed goes hand in hand with deeply unserious, and it's sort of the Republican stock in trade these days.

You've succeeded in making George Bush seem intelligent and articulate.

Don't forget that President Bush has also made statements indicating his belief that emergency rooms are a satisfactory alternative to universal care...

As policy, Goodman's idea is supremely idiotic. Ideologically, though, it's perfectly sound: conservative politicians and political observers have become adept at redefining or renaming troublesome things.

Cf. Medicare fraud, enhanced interrogation, "birth pangs of democracy", fascism, McCain's definition of "rich", etc.

Drudge is saying that the identity of McCain's running mate will leak at 6pm today and be "confirmed" at 8pm.

Classy.

I'm worried that the American people in general just don't have the time, energy or intellectual ability to figure out who is right on the issues. The corporations have finally won - advertising slogans and puffery are what push people's buttons and determine how they vote.

A few days ago I read an account from Joe Klein of Time Magazine on his participation in a study group of undecided voters. The most important traits for a presidential candidate for these voters were "accountability" and "someone I can trust" - generic character traits. One person participating in the focus group said the issues were important. I found that to be pretty depressing. To win, Obama has to win the spin battle on these amorphous character images. Having better policies, ideas and competence simply won't close the deal with low information voters.

So employers have been paying for insurance that employees already had? Gotta be the biggest heist ever. Scandalous.

In an odd way this might be helpful. Let's run with it.

Calculate the cost of this "insurance," and describe its very poor coverage. Then ask whether, gee, isn't there a way to do better on both fronts?

Remind the public that not only does the government provide some reimbursement fro ER's, but that the uncompensated care drives up the cost of paid care as well. In other words, everyone is already paying a lot to provide limited, lousy, health care to the uninsured (sorry, John), and a more sensible system could provide better care at lower cost.

OTOH, Michelle Obama's efforts to reduce healthcare costs by encouraging people to visit a clinic instead of the ER are getting smeared as denying proper medical care to the poor, and profiting as a result.

And some people are buying into it, I expect.

I mean, I suppose that it is entirely possible that that's really what is being done, but you wouldn't be able to tell from the evidence supplied.


A few days ago I read an account from Joe Klein of Time Magazine on his participation in a study group of undecided voters. The most important traits for a presidential candidate for these voters were "accountability" and "someone I can trust" - generic character traits. One person participating in the focus group said the issues were important.

This makes sense if the voters are too busy or tired or confused to be able to make heads or tails of the issues. They are looking for a reliable proxy who will sort it all out for them and do what they would want done if they knew what was going on.

It is actually quite a rational approach to take if you are someone who is looking to delegate all of your decision making to a representative.

It is actually quite a rational approach to take if you are someone who is looking to delegate all of your decision making to a representative.

Yeah, but you'd think that after 8 years of pain, with people agreeing that Bush was terrible and the country is heading in the wrong direction, that they'd have enough time to put together the fact that McCain and Bush are from the same Party. Offering the same plans.

Wouldn't that person want to change it up, even if they didn't know the particulars?

Eric,

It all comes down to how that person evaluates the proxy attibutes of trustworthiness and accountability.

The reason John McCain is doing so well is that fundamentally the voters have not bought into the idea that he is George Bush's political heir. The maverick label has shielded him from being tarred by association with the Bush administration. This election is playing out as if it was 2000 again and the last 7 years never happened.

The media is very much to blame for this - they are highly complicit in what happened under Bush, the MSM were effectively unindicted co-consipirators in partnership with Bush, and so they are very reluctant to allow any serious discussion of what happened on their watch.

One of the toxins in the bloodstream of our body politic right now is that virtually nobody in the media has made a mea culpa or engaged in any constructive self criticism. We have the exact same media which helped bring us the war in 2003 and they haven't even apologised, much less reformed or changed.

I agree with that comment 100%. Every little nook and cranny. Well said.

Even classier.

This is a theme that I’ve been grinding an axe over for some time, and will keep doing so: the news media is a major power center and effectively the 4th branch of the US govt.

Even if Obama wins and is sworn in to office next January, most of the people who sold us the war in 2003 will still be sitting in power, completely unapologetic and ready to the same thing all over again.

What are you talking about, some people will ask me? Bush and Cheney and the rest are gone?

My reply will be: Bush, et. al. were the architects of the war. The people who sold you the war are folks like Chris Matthews and Brian Williams, and they are still there. They haven’t left and they haven’t changed.

If Obama wins the election, the Dems will have taken back only 1 branch of govt. The GOP will still dominate the media and the courts, and will still have a license to gridlock in the Senate. Real progress will be made only when the credibility of the old news media is destroyed and a newer and more accountable one is created to replace it. The news media we have now has managed to avoid an accountability moment. It is time for that to change.

ThatLeft, you're definitely right about the media, but we also need to remember that there are Democrats in Congress that are part of the same mindset. The Democrats are far better than the Republicans, but there's still a lot of work to do.

Great bouncing cherry-flavored gummi christs, they really have transcended politics and become living satire.

Did someone at the McCain campaign get their talking points memo mixed up with the script for the Onion Movie?

Someone needs to get video of this guy beclowning himself and string it together with the linked clip.

If Obama wins the election, the Dems will have taken back only 1 branch of govt. The GOP will still dominate the media and the courts, and will still have a license to gridlock in the Senate. Real progress will be made only when the credibility of the old news media is destroyed and a newer and more accountable one is created to replace it. The news media we have now has managed to avoid an accountability moment. It is time for that to change.

I agree with everything you say, but this paragraph makes me nervous.

Traditional media is losing audiences, but I don't think credibility has anything to do with it. After all, most people simply don't have the time, energy or skill to assess something like credibility, so how could they choose? After all, for many people, credibility comes from the fact that the pretty looking man in the suit is on TV, and his suit is so nice looking, and he speaks with such seriousness and he is so very very pretty. Nothing is going to change that.

And while I'd love to see an accountability moment, I have no idea how we might create one. I mean, are we going to lobby an Obama-backed FCC to make television stations pay for their use of the public airwaves? That seems politically infeasible ("them thar democrats wantz to take away my TVs!") even though that fits well with Obama's U of Chicago pro-market philosophy. And really, the cable gas bags aren't much better, so I don't see how that would improve things. For that matter, the NYT and WAPO aren't much better.

We have awful media because there is no systemic incentive to punish awful media or reward good media. I don't know how we can create suitable incentives. But I agree with you that this is a huge problem.

the identity of McCain's running mate will leak at 6pm today and be "confirmed" at 8pm.

That John McCain; what an honorable man.

Nell, it is Drudge, so it's probably not true (though for some reason we're not supposed to notice that). Remember the Obama-Bayh ticket.

We have awful media because there is no systemic incentive to punish awful media or reward good media. I don't know how we can create suitable incentives.

This is not a matter of putting some system in place to do this. It is a matter of individual responsibility on the part of each American. We are what we eat, both literally with regard to food, and metaphorically with regard to information.

Turn off the TV, until they come up with something better than what they are producing now.

That's my answer, and I preach it whenever I get the chance. We won't get a better media until enough Americans step up to the plate with a very simple but powerful act of individual responsibility - turn off the TV.

That's my answer, and I preach it whenever I get the chance. We won't get a better media until enough Americans step up to the plate with a very simple but powerful act of individual responsibility - turn off the TV.


That's a fine answer, but let's be very clear: this is not going to change anything. The media will not improve. There's no way for them to get the information that you're not watching, and even if they could, they would not infer that you stopped watching because they were stupid. From their perspective, such a thing is literally unthinkable: they are THE authority in news. This is the core of their identity. The notion that they are not good at their jobs is akin to the notion that Santa Clause hates Christmas.

No, if they somehow noticed that you stopped watching, they'd conclude it was because of some preexisting narrative they had rattling around their tiny brains. They might conclude that you dropped out because you were conservative and they had too much liberal bias (better move even further to the right!) or they might conclude that it was because their shows aren't exciting and flashy enough (better have even less substance and investigative reporting!). Sending messages in this way isn't effective since the other party probably doesn't see your message and if they do, they usually end up seeing a message very different from what you sent.

Now, turning off the TV is great for preserving one's own sanity. I don't have cable or network television in my house. But that's not going to fix the problem.

Not only do we have awful media, but the situation is actively getting worse. NPR, which used to be at least a bit more reasonable, has become a mouthpiece for the Republican talking points.

For a series on the Latino vote in 2008 half of the pieces were about McCain supporters despite the fact that at least 2/3 of Latino voters are planning on voting for Obama. A piece on flip-flopping mentioned once (in an add for the piece) that perhaps not all flip-flops are equally important and then proceeded to treat minor changes (like Obama saying he would be willing to modify his timetable as conditions on the ground change) and major policy flips (like McCain's change of opinion on off shore drilling) as equally important. the author of a biography on McCain called something like The Maverick was interviewed by someone who didn't challenge the author's statement of McCain being willing to vote against the Republicans by the two salient facts: historically he has almost never done this (95% of the time he votes with the Republicans) and he has one and only one presidential policy that is against the usual Republican platform (his cap and trade plan) which he neither appears to understand nor acknowledges that President Bush presided over something similar as the governor of Texas so it aint all that brave, is it? NPR has been echoing the 'Obama is vapid' call despite the fact that Obama has many times more the specific policy initiatives available on his website than McCain. I'm sure there are many, many more, but at this point, when NPR starts talking about the presidential race, I turn it off because my driving gets much worse when I'm yelling at the radio.

Was there a change in upper management at NPR? Given how blatant the situation has gotten, if the reporters themselves had any sort of integrity, they would refuse the read the script.

"My reply will be: Bush, et. al. were the architects of the war. The people who sold you the war are folks like Chris Matthews and Brian Williams, and they are still there. They haven’t left and they haven’t changed."

"Turn off the TV, until they come up with something better than what they are producing now."

Wasn't just the TV. The NYT did an awful job covering the WMD issue, though they later admitted it. But they did an awful job because, IMO, they allow the US political mainstream to dictate the slant of coverage they give to topics involving US foreign policy.

I don't know the solution. We need sources of news that don't play to the needs and beliefs of the Washington beltway crowd on foreign policy issues, but I don't think we're going to get that, except on a small scale.

I see Turbulence said something similar. And if the solution depends on enough Americans stepping up to the plate--well, we're in for a long, long wait.

There's no way for them to get the information that you're not watching,

Actually, about a year ago my family was by some freak accident selected to participate in one of the Nielsen surveys. I’m often wondered what they thought when the data came in, showing an entire household watching basically nothing but Tony Bourdain and Avatar:The Last Airbender, and my favorite channel: The Off Channel.

Since 2000 I’ve cut my habitual TV viewing from 15-20 hours per week down to 1-2 hours. If enough people do that it will show up in the ratings and the TV network exec’s will start to freak out.

Then they will start to try something, anything other than just more of the same. It will introduce noise, chance and variability into the mix. Most of it will be awful, even worse than what we have now, but by sheer random chance some of it will be good. If people flock to the good stuff, then we will get a better media.

I don’t expect to get a better media by design – I’m pushing to severely stress their ecosystem, induce mutations, and let Darwinian selection do the rest. Bring the Cretaceous Period to an end, for our media dinosaurs (and then let’s see what kind of mammals emerge from the wreckage). Even if it doesn’t cause any improvements, at least I get some small measure of revenge on them. They have it coming.

"That the American people have been beaten over the head with this reality for eight years and somehow half the country still can't quite make out who it is that's been swinging the cudgel is a source of immense frustration."

A POW wouldn't cudgel us, right?

The science behind it I'd bet is fascinating.

It's like the stove isn't hot no matter how badly you're burned.

I am going to punch someone real soon!

There's no way for them to get the information that you're not watching.

Yes, there is, if a sufficient number of people turned away -- unless you want to defend the idea that the existing ratings surveys are wildly inaccurate and wouldn't pick up such a shift.

I'm not necessarily advocating the "turn away" tactic as crucial to a long-term effort to get better media, nor am I disparaging it.

I'm a practioner of long standing, not out of any strategic effort but because I literally can't watch the commercial news for more than ten minutes at a stretch. It's inconceivable to me to choose any network with commentary over the unfiltered event if I have a choice. Thanks, C-SPAN.

Supporting independent media financially is an important step. Pick a couple of outlets important to you and send them what you can:

LinkTV, Democracy Now, TPMpire, etc.

You need a billionaire with a sense of duty to the reader and the community to die and set up a Trust which will own a newspaper (or family of newspapers) that will uphold the necessary values of honesty, integrity, courage, fairness, and a sense of duty to the reader and the community.

It's notable that, a few years ago when every other broadsheet paper in the country was engaging in a price war to attract readers, The Guardian's price remained the same... and its readership did not go down.

You could try writing to George Soros, I suppose. But as for it being "every American's responsibility" I don't see it. Not every American can start something like the Scott Trust.

You may also want a government that requires a license fee for every television to pay for a national radio/TV broadcaster with a mission "to inform, educate and entertain". It's worked for us for nearly 90 years. How time flies when you're having fun.

The number of times Americans have said they ended up checking out the Guardian or the BBC websites to find out what was happening in their own country...

...well, at least you had Al Gore facilitating the creation of the Internet. For which the rest of the world can be appreciative.

TLTinABQ: about a year ago my family was by some freak accident selected to participate in one of the Nielsen surveys. I’m often wondered what they thought when the data came in, showing an entire household watching basically nothing but Tony Bourdain and Avatar:The Last Airbender, and my favorite channel: The Off Channel.

{LOL!} Us too, about two years ago. Long stretches of nothing, punctuated by hockey and the late, lamented NewsWorld International (a project of Canadian Broadcasting Company with the Australian BC and German Deutsche Welle), and the occasional 'Good Eats' with Alton Brown.

Oh, and recycled British mystery series, now unavailable on any channel but plentiful at the time.

Wasn't just the TV. The NYT did an awful job covering the WMD issue, though they later admitted it. But they did an awful job because, IMO, they allow the US political mainstream to dictate the slant of coverage they give to topics involving US foreign policy.

I don't know the solution. We need sources of news that don't play to the needs and beliefs of the Washington beltway crowd on foreign policy issues, but I don't think we're going to get that, except on a small scale.

Agreed, but I don't think the NYT has mass influence except indirectly via other outlets. It and the WaPo are the in-house conduit of consensus elite opinion, but in order to reach tens of millions of people they need help. I think where they do damage is by certifying opinion as suitable for discussion, like a USDA stamp of approval on a steak. The TV networks are the ones actually serving the meals however.

And if the solution depends on enough Americans stepping up to the plate--well, we're in for a long, long wait.

I'd argue the opposite - long waits ensue when we sit back and wait for top down change or some sort of systemic fix for our problems. Fast change happens at the grass roots.

Take Fox News as an example. Circa 2000-2003 I used to hear them (i.e. in face-to-face conversation) cited frequently as a trusted source, even by political moderates and independents. Not anymore. Their credibility has been killed by ridicule.

It will take time, but the same can happen to the other networks. Just keep tirelessly pointing out the lies and stupidity (not in a shrill partisan way which damages your own credibility, but calmly and patiently with lots of good humor), and show people whom you know how to use the internet to get access to a much wider variety of media, especially English language sources from outside the US. Don’t just tell them – show them. This has to be done using personal social networks (friends, etc.) – it a retail not a wholesale change. It takes years and has to be done one person at a time, but it can be done. I know it, because I’ve been working tirelessly at it for a decade now and I can see firsthand that my efforts are paying off.

I agree that there are plenty of non-mainstream sources of news and I use them all the time, but only a tiny minority of Americans are going to balance what they see on TV or read in the paper with these other sources.

I don't actually want the NYT to disappear (the TV news can, for all I care), as they do manage to put out a lot of useful info along with the government propaganda--the ideal would be to have everyone reading the "quality" mainstream press but not trusting it, and simultaneously reading alternative sources (and not necessarily trusting them either).

Failing that, there's always Jon Stewart. Fake news is better than most of the real TV news.

That could be, leftturn. I don't want to argue with your personal successes and if a few people did it and then they did it and it grew exponentially, yeah, things would change. I've been a bit less successful. My current project, if I can get up the nerve to irritate him this much, is sending links to B'Tselem and Human Rights Watch reports and a few other things to a Christian ZIonist friend of mine.

Actually, about a year ago my family was by some freak accident selected to participate in one of the Nielsen surveys.

Ah, you are one of the lucky few whose viewing habits count for something. That must be like living in a swing state.

If enough people do that it will show up in the ratings and the TV network exec’s will start to freak out. Then they will start to try something, anything other than just more of the same. It will introduce noise, chance and variability into the mix. Most of it will be awful, even worse than what we have now, but by sheer random chance some of it will be good.

I actually think the Daily Show might be the best regular news source on TV. Certainly, the interview with Chris Matthews was one of my favorite interviews ever.

If people flock to the good stuff, then we will get a better media.

If Americans were capable of flocking to the good stuff, then the 2000 and 2004 elections would not have been nailbiters won by such small margins. But they is no reason to believe that they are. Can you think of any?

I don’t expect to get a better media by design – I’m pushing to severely stress their ecosystem, induce mutations, and let Darwinian selection do the rest. Bring the Cretaceous Period to an end, for our media dinosaurs (and then let’s see what kind of mammals emerge from the wreckage). Even if it doesn’t cause any improvements, at least I get some small measure of revenge on them. They have it coming.

Evolution is...slow. Evolution takes place on a time scale far different than we're used to thinking about. And there's no reason to believe that evolution will bring about a positive change because we don't have good incentives in place. Evolution drives you in the direction of selection pressure, but our incentives press for profits not for quality. For example, as audiences declined, news divisions have been slashing staff and production costs. There's always going to be a core group of old people who watch the news and eventually audiences will shrink to that group and then stop shrinking. Once that happens, the newscasters will continue much like they always have. After all, if their costs are reasonable given their audience size, there is no crisis, so why change at all?

ThatLeftTurn, it would be awesome if you and Nell represented some sort of mass movement of people fed up with mainstream media, but you don't. You two are literally in the 99.99th percentile in terms of knowledge of global affairs and politics and media analysis. If more people were like you, we wouldn't have the media problems that we do. But they're not. I want to believe otherwise. But I can't. Do you have any stats indicating that Americans are fed up with their media and are demanding something better?

Evolution is...slow

It was a metaphor, but if you really want to take it literally, then I have a two word response:

Punctuated Equilibrium


Do you have any stats indicating that Americans are fed up with their media and are demanding something better

No I can’t offer any stats, just personal experience. The single most frequent comment that I hear from others regarding the news is something along the lines of "can you believe those idiots on TV?"

I’m not the only one who has noticed that something is very wrong with our news. Other people are noticing it too. We may not agree on a solution. There may not be a solution. But I know I’m not alone in thinking there is a problem.

That’s a good start.

Wasn't just the TV. The NYT did an awful job covering the WMD issue, though they later admitted it. But they did an awful job because, IMO, they allow the US political mainstream to dictate the slant of coverage they give to topics involving US foreign policy.

I'm not sure I agree. They did do an awful job, but their crummy little apology got a lot less exposure than the vast heap of lies they hurled at us for years before. I think they did an awful job because they're fairly incompetent. Reporters are not subject matter experts (those are expensive!) and neither are editors, and the whole profession is so enamored with its own glory that it has no interest in changing internal procedures to have experts review articles before publication. These institutions do not care about accuracy and there is no real reason they should.

I should not be able to open the WAPO and find articles and editorials premised on the notion that inflation doesn't exist. And yet I do. Repeatedly. This is not an outcome that a competent organization interested in accuracy could produce.

I'd argue the opposite - long waits ensue when we sit back and wait for top down change or some sort of systemic fix for our problems. Fast change happens at the grass roots.

I'm not saying that we should wait for anything. I think everyone should cut down on their intake of traditional media since that will cause them to be happier and less stupid. But I also don't see any reason to believe that this sort of pressure is going to change the media significantly.

Take Fox News as an example. Circa 2000-2003 I used to hear them (i.e. in face-to-face conversation) cited frequently as a trusted source, even by political moderates and independents. Not anymore. Their credibility has been killed by ridicule.

Was it killed by ridicule or was it killed by Fox' own self-parody? And if their credibility has been so thoroughly shot, then why are they still the most popular cable news network and why are the other cable news networks still desperately trying to imitate them? If this is what dead credibility smells like, I'm not sure we can survive any more damage to Fox' credibility.

It will take time, but the same can happen to the other networks. Just keep tirelessly pointing out the lies and stupidity (not in a shrill partisan way which damages your own credibility, but calmly and patiently with lots of good humor), and show people whom you know how to use the internet to get access to a much wider variety of media, especially English language sources from outside the US.

I've been doing that for years, with little success.

Also, there's no reason to believe that other networks are going to halt let alone reverse their moves to the right. And there's no reason to believe that pointing out Fox' stupidity actually hurt them.

Don’t just tell them – show them. This has to be done using personal social networks (friends, etc.) – it a retail not a wholesale change. It takes years and has to be done one person at a time, but it can be done. I know it, because I’ve been working tirelessly at it for a decade now and I can see firsthand that my efforts are paying off.

I'm very glad you've been fighting the good fight and it greatly reassures me. However,

1. How solid are these gains? Do they go away the next time there is a successful terrorist attack?

2. After investing so much over so many years, isn't it a little difficult to remain objective about the efficacy of your efforts? ;-)

1. How solid are these gains? Do they go away the next time there is a successful terrorist attack?

Heck if I know. I’ll take what I can get. The perfect is the enemy of the good, walk before you run, etc.


2. After investing so much over so many years, isn't it a little difficult to remain objective about the efficacy of your efforts? ;-)

Risk of confirmation bias can be used as an argument against starting any enterprise whose success or failure are subjectively measured. I don’t see that as a reason not to try, I see it as a reason to work hard at minimizing my own confirmation bias.

I could just sit here and do nothing about all of this, if you’d prefer. There is no empirical way I can ever really know if anything I’ve done is helping or not, since I don't have access to the alternative universe where I did something different, or did nothing at all. In the face of such uncertainty, "il faut cultiver notre jardin" seems as good a guide to deeds as any, to me. YMMV.

;-)

I agree completely that that is not any way to fix the problems of the uninsured in America. Just because someone can get into an emergency room for free doesn't mean that they won't be billed for it later. And since they don't have any insurance, they'll have to pay that bill with money out of their own pockets that they can't spare, which is one reason they don't have insurance in the first place. And if everyone was said to be insured, it would make things much more expensive for the rest of us as well, since we pay a lot per capita in government funding for health care. We should keep our sights on national health insurance, like Obama.

We have awful media because there is no systemic incentive to punish awful media or reward good media. I don't know how we can create suitable incentives

The incentive is called the boycott. Media gets its money from advertisers who get their money when you buy their products. The internet has allowed the formation of huge interest groups who can take advantage of this fact. Here's how it would work:

Every week one of those interest groups would pick out the most egregious example of irresponsible media. They would then take a look at the list of advertisers whose ad dollars allowed that corporation to broadcast that egregious statement, and pick the one whose products were most likely to be used by the members of that interest group.

The interest group's members would then not buy anything from that advertiser for the next week, and they would politely let the advertiser know why. Advertisers get freaked out by 10 letters of that sort. Now try 100,000.

Next week, pick out the next example, and repeat. This is how some small extremist right wing religious groups have been able to have influence beyond their numbers.

And people who want a change now have the numbers. Whether they have the will to act on that fact is a different question.

It's a really good magic trick -- to make health insurance appear and disappear all at the same time.

Media gets its money from advertisers who get their money when you buy their products. The internet has allowed the formation of huge interest groups who can take advantage of this fact.

So, could you list the internet based boycotts that have been successful in the last year? I can't think of any, but maybe I'm just forgetting some...

This is how some small extremist right wing religious groups have been able to have influence beyond their numbers.

As far as I know, these small religious groups have not been very successful with this approach. Consider how many large corporations continue to offer benefits for gay and lesbian partners? The little religious groups stamp their feet and threaten to hold their breath and then...nothing happens. Repeating these failures doesn't seem like a good idea to me.

But maybe I'm wrong. Why don't you organize an internet group and get back to us? Perhaps it will even be successful.

So, could you list the internet based boycotts that have been successful in the last year?

Can you list the ones from the larger players that have been unsuccessful?

As far as I know, these small religious groups have not been very successful with this approach

You can find example after example of ads pulled, shows canceled or rewritten, on and on due to tactics from these groups.

Why don't you organize an internet group and get back to us?

You don't need to organize them. They already exist.

The strategy does have the disadvantage of depending on people doing something other than whining and moaning. Some people occasionally meet that requirement.

The bottom line is that these instances of media misbehavior that people find egregious were paid for with their money. Don't like it? Don't pay for it.

You don't need to organize them. They already exist.

And they would be? Don't be shy, share this secret knowledge with us!

I am confused though how it is that these groups have failed to have any effect at all to date. Perhaps they just need more time and more supporters. Yeah, I'm sure that's it.

The strategy does have the disadvantage of depending on people doing something other than whining and moaning. Some people occasionally meet that requirement.

It has one other disadvantage: the fact that there's no reason to believe it will be effective, besides wishful thinking. But hey, it doesn't need to be effective right? It gives you license for moral sanctimony and that's what really matters, yes?

The bottom line is that these instances of media misbehavior that people find egregious were paid for with their money. Don't like it? Don't pay for it.

Thanks for the advice, but given that I don't get TV in my house, don't watch it outside the house, and don't own a radio, I think I'm doing all I can do cut off the media's air supply.

I am confused though how it is that these groups have failed to have any effect at all to date

Grass roots groups organized on the internet have had no effect? Really?

Thanks for the advice, but given that I don't get TV in my house, don't watch it outside the house, and don't own a radio, I think I'm doing all I can do cut off the media's air supply.

So if you don't pay attention to the media, how do you know whether or not the products you spend your money on are made by companies that finance the most distasteful productions of so-called journalism?

Would that information be valuable to you, or would you go on financing that activity anyway?

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