OT: Media Reponsiblity and Fairness


johnmeyer wrote on 6/15/2005, 11:41 AM
Since you are now saying that Michael Kinsley is not liberal, you have lost all credibility. He was the counterpoint to Buchanan on the original Crossfire and, to this day, appears on virtually every news outlet representing the Democrats and liberal viewpoints. Also, his various publications have consistently been referred to by everyone I have ever read (except you) as liberal.

As for Bush's comments about his decision to invade Iraq, they are typical of the silly assertions made about Bush, and how people try to ascribe sinister motives to perfectly normal events. In particular, you make the point:

"President Bush continued to deny, up until the day before the invasion began, that he had made the decision to invade Iraq."

So, I guess you are saying that Bush should have said, on the day before he announced his decision to invade Iraq, that he HAD in fact decided to invade Iraq?? But wait, if he then said that, then he would have at that moment announced his decision to invade Iraq. Having then done that, you would then have looked at his statement the day before where he undoubtedly said he hadn't made his decision, and blasted him for not announcing it then. It never ends.

Like I said, it is a completely silly argument, designed to impugn the president by making it appear that he is lying, when in fact all he is doing is waiting to play his card until all options had been exhausted. I am quite certain that he was 99% certain, when he made that statement, that he was going to invade Iraq, but that he -- and all those sinister people that you think are pulling the strings behind his back -- were working overtime trying to come up with some way to avoid war.

If you truly think that George W. Bush, or his father, or Lyndon Johnson, or FDR, etc. ever wanted to go to war, then you must truly think them all to be amazingly evil, sinister men. I don't think history has revealed that to be true of any of the men that preceded him -- including his father.

Is there any liberal left in this country that can do anything other than talk about the unfair 2000 election, the unfair 2004 election, the Republican "takeover," and the "evil" Karl Rove and Dick Cheney? What are their ideas about Social Security? (Bush is trying to cut funds to seniors ... ) What about health-care ??(Bush is trying make our medicine less safe by reducing FDA testing standards). I could go on, but every liberal position is anti-Bush, not pro anything.
BrianStanding wrote on 6/15/2005, 11:56 AM
"I could go on, but every liberal position is anti-Bush, not pro anything. "

Beg to differ. Here's a good starting point:

Green Party 2004 National Platform:
Coursedesign wrote on 6/15/2005, 12:08 PM
he -- and all those sinister people that you think are pulling the strings behind his back -- were working overtime trying to come up with some way to avoid war.

So you think that he actually believed the made-up intelligence reports about WMD from people with an interest in war (Ahmed Chalabi, etc.)?

American taxpayers have been suckered for $600B (GAO estimate if ALL goes well from now on), out of which half has been spent already in specifically allocated funds. Of course there are also a lot of regular-budget Pentagon resources that are just sucked dry but not included in these numbers, waiting to be replenished when there's a new crisis or when nobody is looking.

On top of this, we now have 12,000 U.S. soldiers who are out of action due to being crippled, and another 1,700 who don't have even that to complain about because they are dead. Plus countless American civilian contractors who are not even counted because they are not enlisted. Plus 50,000-100,000 Iraqis killed. Of course, "every life is sacred."

Here at home, emergency first responders are in short supply all over the country, because so many of them are reservists on duty in Iraq, or in VA hospitals learning how to use artificial limbs, or just pushing up daisies after an abbreviated tour of duty.

I'm really saddened by how poorly our military personnel has been treated through all of this, and Bush took many initiatives to cut the benefits to them and their families. That is repugnant, frankly.
busterkeaton wrote on 6/15/2005, 1:23 PM
....just kidding

John, if you are trying to have a fact-based argument, you can't move the goalposts once the players have starting playing.

Read craftech's post again. He is not saying Michael Kinsley is not a liberal, he's saying he is not as liberal as they come which is how riredale described him. In the column riredale pointed to, Kinsley points to columnist Robert Scheer as being further left than he is

John, I have a question. Do you believe what George W Bush is saying about Social Security and do you think George W Bush has a good plan for Social Security?
Coursedesign wrote on 6/15/2005, 1:41 PM
...and do you think George W Bush has a good plan for Social Security?

And which media have covered the Medicare crisis?

That crisis is NOW rather than 20-40 years from now.

johnmeyer wrote on 6/15/2005, 2:03 PM
So you think that he actually believed the made-up intelligence reports about WMD from people with an interest in war (Ahmed Chalabi, etc.)?

Yes, of course: Obviously he did believe these reports. I think that is pretty self-evident. Of course, so did virtually every member nation of the United Nations (hence all the resolutions asking Iraq to dismantle their WMD programs and disclose their nuclear program "or else ..."). So, according to you, I guess they are all in on this as well.

Of course, those other nations obviously did not all agree that we should invade Iraq. Having said that, twenty-one nations from Europe, and nine from Asia and Australasia DID join the war effort. However, according to your logic, I guess they don't count because it is really George Bush's war, and he is a cowboy, doing this all by himself, and who really cares about Great Britain, Poland, Italy, Ukraine, Netherlands, Australia, Romania, South Korea, Japan -- well, you can look up the list. I guess they all decided to believe those "made-up" reports as well, and I guess they did it because they are all blood thirsty and like to see their citizens come home in body bags. And Karl Rove and Dick Cheney control these governments through their connections in big oil ... oh please!

Thus, labeling these intelligence reports as "made-up" really discredits your viewpoint. It is exactly this kind of cartoon trivialization that makes it difficult to get anywhere in a political discourse, whether in this forum, or elsewhere.

Yes, the reports were definitely wrong, but "made-up?"

Did Cuba really have missiles? All we had were fuzzy aerial photos (I think the missiles were real, but if you were transported back in time for a day, I bet you'd be arguing it was all a hoax). Was the intelligence any good when Carter launched that famous bungled hostage rescue attempt? Did Reagan have good intelligence when he launched the missiles into that tent into Lybia, trying to get Qaddafi? Did Clinton have good intelligence when he authorized the bombing of what, apparently, was really an aspirin factory (the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant)?

Once again, ascribing sinister motives as the only possible explanation for these past intelligence failures (i.e., saying it was intentionally "made up") is quite a stretch. This is especially true when, historically, there are dozens of examples where bad information resulted from other factors. I just gave a few of these examples above. For every intelligence failure (or any failure in government) there are dozens of other possible explanations, and "intentionally misleading" is generally not at the top of the list, unless you believe that EVERY action by anyone in Washington has some sort of Watergate conspiracy lurking behind it.

One example of other explanations, which is relevant to this discussion is that the "other side" may be spreading intentional disinformation, such as happened when the Germans believed D-Day was going to happen somewhere else (because their intelligence people believed something we planted) and moved their troops accordingly.

johnmeyer wrote on 6/15/2005, 2:49 PM
John, I have a question. Do you believe what George W Bush is saying about Social Security and do you think George W Bush has a good plan for Social Security?

I generally believe what Bush says (yes, I know that some of you will laugh at that, but those of you that do probably believe the cartoon characterization of Bush -- which used to be applied to Clinton -- namely, "How do you tell when Bush is lying? When his lips move.")

As to Bush's plan on Social Security, let me preface my impression of the plan by saying that I give high marks for these three things:

1. He has the guts to take it on.

2. He understands that the problem can't be fixed with minor tweaking, so he is proposing fairly radical solutions.

3. He seems pretty open to talking about other ideas, if only someone from the other side would sit down and work on those ideas instead of just making statements about his motives and, worse, outright lying about what he's already said (example: he's trying to cut benefits for existing seniors, when his statements and his plan -- for those already on SS -- show no change).

I get especially distraught when I see many on the other side refuse to engage because they don't believe there is a problem at all, and that Bush is making all this up. This is lunacy. Bill Clinton tried to address social security a decade ago, and proposed some of the same things Bush has set forth. Clinton had a hostile Congress, and lost the Congress after just two years in office, primarily because of the way in which he tried to tackle another major issue, healthcare. Therefore, SS could not be at the top of his agenda because he'd been burned once. Perhaps he could help Bush on this, if Clinton gets healthy again (he's been pretty sick the past few months). I hope he does (get healthy and helps on SS). The sad thing is, I don't think that Clinton and Bush, leaders of their respective parties, are that far apart on this.

In direct answer to your question, the Bush plan, as I understand it, would:

1. Raise SS retirement age (something in today's headlines);

2. Reduce or eliminate SS for the wealthy (although that will be difficult to determine, because high wage earners don't always save and therefore may not have much at retirement, and "wealthy" includes illiquid wealth, like the real estate, which won't generate any income on which to live. However, the idea behind this part of the proposal is good);

3. Provide a way for the youngest wage earners to put a small portion (I think it is 10-15%) of their monthly SS deduction into a private account similar to IRA or SEP (amazing how this one idea has gotten demagogued, given how small a percentage we're talking about, and how successful IRA and SEP plans have been).

4. Provide a phased schedule for transfer to the new plan so that people over a certain age will get exactly what they expected to get.

The proposals all seem logical, although perhaps they alone will not be enough to save the program. Someone has to run the numbers, other ideas may be needed, etc. But just standing around calling Bush names gets really OLD, and doesn't get us anywhere, especially since the plan is so similar to what the Democrats themselves proposed ten years ago.

The one thing that worries me about SS, healthcare, the pending energy bill, etc., is that Bush and the Republican congress have shown that they are actually bigger spenders (and not just on the military) and more apt to create giant government programs than the liberals (Democrats). Perhaps that's the Democrat gameplan: Keep accusing the Republicans of all sorts of completely silly and off-the-wall stuff so the Republicans will pass the Democrat's agenda just to get them off their back. Other than the Patriot Act, I don't see much that the Republican Congress has passed under Bush that wouldn't have been passed under Clinton, and even Clinton might have done something similar (to the Patriot Act), under the circumstances.

johnmeyer wrote on 6/15/2005, 2:58 PM
very smartly and very ably

Good point. Adjectives have no place in journalism. Whether part of bias or not, they create impressions that aren't necessarily supported by the facts. I agree with you completely on this one, and there is no doubt that the RNC chairman was very well served by this characterization.

I would also like to see the media be much more careful with the use of nouns (as long as I'm going through the various parts of speech). The best example: How many news stories describe something as a "crisis?"

BTW, as much fun as I'm having with this, I'll let you guys have the last word and then bow out. I tried to do that before, but got lured back in. I think we have WAY overstayed our welcome in this forum, and I thank the moderator for his patience.
Coursedesign wrote on 6/15/2005, 4:32 PM
Maybe there is hope for the media after all:

An interesting analysis from AP.

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busterkeaton wrote on 6/16/2005, 12:01 AM

Thank you for replying.

One of the reasons that the Democrats have refused to engage Bush on Social Security is that Democrats ( and, let's face it, plenty of Republicans too.) know that Bush is playing politics with the whole issue. Another reason they have refused to play Bush's game is they know he is fudging the numbers and the public is very wary of Bush on Social Security and is on the Democrats side on this issue. The third reason is there is no crisis.

Why do I say that Bush is playing politics?
1 In January of this year, the White House strategy on Social Security was leaked to the press. The strategy was we have to convince the public that SS was "the current system is heading toward an iceberg."
2 To further the idea of a coming crisis Bush has been spouting Doom and Gloom ever since the election.
3 Bush keeps using the word "bankrupt" at a time when SS is running a large surplus, the "Trust Fund"
4 This large surplus is invested in US Treasury Bonds and will keep growing at least until 2018 or 2020. That is for the next 13-15 years SS will take in more than it pays out. (It's hard to specify when it start paying out more than it takes in because every time they look at it, the date keeps getting pushed further into the future.) Bush has been deriding the SS surplus saying "There is no trust fund, just IOUs."
5 Bush and other privatization proponets for years used the words "privatize" and "private accounts." Then after polling showed the public was very much against privatization, they attempted an Orwellian shift in rhetoric. The started to use "personal accounts" as directed in this memo. That led to this hilarious interview with the Washington Post.

The Post: Will you talk to Senate Democrats about your privatization plan?

6 The memo, I mentioned above, also talks about the long-term conservative goal of privatizing SS. Bush has been talking about privatizing SS since at least 1978 when he ran for Congress in Texas. That is he is not responding to a current crisis, he is pursuing a long-term political goal.

Why do I say Bush has been fudging his numbers and his facts?
7 US Treasury Bonds are considered to be the safest investment on the planet and are backed by the "full faith and credit" of the United State of America as specified in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
8 That is, if a future US government decided not to make good on Treasury Bonds it would be uncsontitutional. It would also create a global financial crisis of epic proportions.
9 If a future US government decided that it would not make good on only the Treasury Bonds in the SS Trust Fund, then it would represent a fraud on the taxpayers to the tune of approximately 1.7 trillion dollars.
10 The centerpiece of Bush's SS plan was the creation of private accounts. However, these never ever solved the question of SS solvency that Bush said was in crisis.
11 The reason for this is private accounts are expensive and require borrowing trillions in new debt to set up. The entire "crisis" consists of having to borrow a $100 billion or so a year starting around 2018, so borrowing a trillion or two starting right now is a really bad solution.
12 Why are they so expensive? Bush's plan calls for younger workers to be able to divert 4 percentage points of the payroll taxes into a personal account. This sound small but it's not, it's not 4 percent. It's 4 percentage points. This turns out to much higher than the 10-15% John mentions.
13 Currently employees contribute 6.2 percentage points to their payroll tax. This means it's not 4/100, it's 4/6.2, that is nearly two-thirds of what would go into the system today to pay current benefits would be set aside. 65% of the payroll taxes for younger workers would have supplemented by borrowing. This is why it woud cost trillions of dollars over the next couple of decades to set up private accounts. I know a few Democratic economists who said they would support a private accounts plan, but would not accept one that undermines SS's solvency by diverting revenues from it.
14 Bush has finally admitted point number 10. Early this month Bush said You can solve the solvency issue without personal accounts.
15 Other number that were fudged in Bush's plan were the performance of the economy. When touting the benefits of investing in the stock market Bush claimed you would get great benefits from the stock market, it claimed a 6.5 percent return. When he wanted to hype the crisis that we are headed for an iceberg of "bankruptcy" in 2018 and an exhausted Trust Fund by 2042, he assumed the economy would only grow at a rate of 1.9 percent. The problem is if the US economy is limping along at that rate, you will not get a 6.5 percent return from the stock market.
16 In fact, the US economy has never grown at so small a rate since the 1930's. There's about 30 years until 2042. The US economy has never averaged 1.9 percent growth over ANY three decade period. Even in this period of weak dollar, high fuel prices and stagnant wages we are over 3 percent growth.

There is no crisis.

17 The reality is that we are not in crisis, SS is currently running a large surplus and that surplus can continue just from growth. If the economy grows at the same average rate it has grown over the last 50 years, the surplus will continue to grow.
18 Even if we do nothing to SS the "bankruptcy" occurs four or five decades from now and SS will still be paying out at higher levels that today in today's dollars.
19 Social Security seems to be in the best shape out of our major governement programs. If you want to talk about the guts to take on real problems, look at the general fund or Medicare.
20 The deficit we are currently running in the current budget is 4 to 5 times higher what Social Security will face in a couple of decades.
21 Warren Buffet put it this way <blockquote>DOBBS: Are you surprised when you focus on the two deficits we just talked about, the trade deficit, and the budget deficit? The budget deficit is 3.6 percent of our GDP. The trade deficit is reaching just almost 6 percent of GDP. And the president is talking about reforming Social Security. Does that surprise you?

BUFFETT: Well, it's an interesting idea that a deficit of $100 billion a year, something, 20 years out, seems to terrify the administration. But the $400-plus billion dollars deficit currently does nothing but draw yawns. I mean the idea that this terrible specter room looms over us 20 years out which is a small fraction of the deficit we happily run now seems kind of interesting to me.</blockquote>

22. Here is a chart of the large deficits we are currently running vs the surpluses Social Security is running.

23 There is no crisis. The danger of of an aging Baby Boom generation is far greater from health costs and Medicare/Medicaid than Social Security. The dangers to the federal debt are due to our current tax policies and the borrowing and spending we have been doing since 2001. These dangers overwhelm the ones from Social Security. Relatively modest changes in the Social Security system can ensure its future because there is no crisis.

craftech wrote on 6/16/2005, 7:55 AM

I don't know whether or not you participate in political forums, but if you do then you are thoroughly aware of the ignorami that lurk on them for the sole purpose of name calling and badgering other posters thereby making it a truly disgusting experience. I am happy that after this many posts absolutely no one has done that. Despite the strong differences in opinion everyone has shown nothing but absolute respect for one another which makes this fun.

I commend the moderators for allowing it especially since less controversial subject matter in Off Topic posts has on rare but disturbing occasions resulted in mud slinging and unwarranted name calling. This thread is a testimonial to the great character of all that have participated in it. Thanks for that.

riredale wrote on 6/16/2005, 6:12 PM
Oh yeah? You want some name-calling??

I'll give you some name-calling!!!

You're a..... a...... A FINAL CUT PRO BIGOT!!!!!

There. How was that?

I feel much better now.

BTW, maybe we can hit 200 posts with this baby. I guess around 11pm Pacific time tonight...
p@mast3rs wrote on 6/16/2005, 7:05 PM
I absolutely had no idea that this thread would get anywhere as long as it has. I am amazed at the level of intellect and more importantly, the level of responsiblity we here on the forum already take in the material we put out there for mass consumption.

Kudos to everyone.
VOGuy wrote on 6/16/2005, 7:43 PM
I absolutely had no idea that this thread would get anywhere as long as it has. I am amazed at the level of intellect and more importantly, the level of responsiblity we here on the forum already take in the material we put out there for mass consumption.

Kudos to everyone.<-

Agreed. It's extremely important in a Democracy that many of us can understand and respect others with opinions different from our own. Too many Americans seem to have come to the opinion that those on the other side are stupid, ignorant or evil. Discussions like this are necessary, because Democracy is based on the concept of compromise.

On the other hand:

Much of this kind of discussion doesn't matter because the real decision makers (The voters) are only getting a headline and a half-paragraph on each story. The real world and its issues are more complicated than that. Somehow we need to find a way to get more of the reality and the finer points of each story to the average American.

Coursedesign wrote on 6/16/2005, 9:33 PM
Much of this kind of discussion doesn't matter because the real decision makers (The voters) are only getting a headline and a half-paragraph on each story. The real world and its issues are more complicated than that. Somehow we need to find a way to get more of the reality and the finer points of each story to the average American.

It's like Vegas for video editing.

Some early adopters start using it, and after some time other people hear about it, the word spreads and it achieves critical mass, gradually taking over from all other editing applications as editors see its superiority. :O)

I have a sense that "the average American" is now beginning to get it. For a long time people were paralyzed with fear from 9/11 and they couldn't think clearly, now as the immediate threat has subsided, it becomes possible to think also about other things.

PeterWright wrote on 6/19/2005, 11:36 PM
- about time this thread was added to!

I've been visiting it regularly, with much interest but nothing to add, until:

Over here on Oz, just heard a radio interview with John Perkins, author of "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man". Absolutely mind blowing!
This book spills the beans on much of the US's own form of international terrorism - and to relate back to this thread, the author mentioned that although the book had been a best seller for 5 months, the major media in the U.S had never reviewed it!

Thankfully, as he said, the public know about it, even if the media pretend not to.

(Edit - for a riveting read: http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/11/09/1526251 )
craftech wrote on 6/20/2005, 4:25 AM

If you like that one try reading Manufacturing Consent by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky. It really points out the reasons I have deemed media reform the number one problem facing us here in the United States.

Coursedesign wrote on 6/23/2005, 9:11 AM
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man...

It appears that the Chinese have learned from the master.

One of the largest state-owned oil companies in China, CNOOC, has just substantially outbid Chevron's bid for Unocal (mostly known for their "76" gas stations and immense oil and gas reserves in Asia). CNOOC seems determined to get its way, with the very best help from Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase.

Separately, Haier Group (one of China's largest companies) has outbid American investors to get the Maytag Corporation.

Last month, Lenovo (China's largest computer maker) bought all of IBM's PC business.

So what? Who cares? Well, we are handing over nice hard assets and get paper money back. The paper money is U.S. dollars from our immense trade deficit with China, paper that was just sitting there for a long time. Now the paper has started to move back and it is being converted to ownership of U.S. profit-making companies and natural resources that are steadily increasing in value.

What do we get? A piece of printed paper back, that was already used up to buy cheap Chinese products.

Let's hope that our media start looking at the effects of recent government policies of "buy now, pay later" (this started before Bush, but accelerated on his watch) so we can learn from this before it's too late.

I wonder if the media can even wake up our congress critters, who seem to live in their own world.

The congress critters have been busy banning flag burning and halting communism by starving innocent Cubans. Just wait till they discover one day that most of their campaign contributions come from the only company left on the New York Stock exchange, the gigantic "Red Glory Ka-Ching Corporation" (a local U.S. subsidiary of the Chinese Army, which has immense business dealings that are so big even the Beijing government doesn't have any control over them, and they really have tried).

Why worry about flag burning when Rome is burning?