All that said, he is often hilarious and usually has a legitimate point, and I'll happily read or watch his stuff when I come across it.
As for what jblock said about Limbaugh: Rush is a debater. He makes his points and backs them up. Moore, OTOH, largely makes his statements through comedy. Which is fine, but it wouldn't work in a one-on-one debate. That's all.
Rush's positive influence? He's
gotten millions of people to understand that conservatism works better than liberalism. Yeah, that's right, I fully believe that conservatism serves people far more effectively than liberalism does, not that it's a way for me to stomp on the little people (as if I'm not one of the little people myself). As for Rush's "truth-fudging," I must disagree, as someone who listens to him quite often. In 13-plus years of 3-hour-per-day broadcasting, has he ever screwed up? Sure. Hell yeah, even. But the simple fact is that he backs up what almost everything he has to say with tons and tons of examples, usually direct cuts from other broadcasts and direct quotes from various media outlets. (And yes, I listen to liberal talk shows too. Since this post is already huge, I'll refrain from direct comparisons of them to Rush unless someone asks.)
And journalists are emphatically not out there "to save lives," they're there to report news stories. Any belief that journalists are out there to Crusade For the People is itself a distinctly liberal concept, and just plain incorrect. (Yeah, I know, there's so-called "New Journalism," but that's only gathering facts purely to support a certain viewpoint, and it's a huge part of the reason so much media has become the "liberal media" in recent decades.) Reporting can certainly lead to positive results for individuals or groups, but that's merely because news in general is coverage of things that go wrong.
In any case, Limbaugh, Buckley and O'Rourke aren't journalists; they're opinionmakers and commentators, there to get out ideas. (O'Rourke does do some on-scene reporting, but only to uncover examples of how liberalism can go horribly awry.)
On another note, all the negativity, personal attacks and general "you don't agree with us so you must be an jerk" attitude from liberals, like in the above posts are a big, big part of the reason the GOP is rising fast these days. People are just sick of it. I don't see a single post above from the conservatives saying Moore is evil; all they're saying is that his shtick doesn't always work that well. But in response they get are one-liner attacks calling them "assholes" and insinuating that they're stupid. You people have got to start putting out ideas if you're gonna get some momentum back; empty "we care about the people and you just step on everybody" statements, without any attempt to back up such accusations don't cut it any more. (And no, "everyone knows that's the case" don't work.)
Oh, and nobody ever thought of Ralph Nader as a "rich white man" until he released his financial records a few weeks ago. Most probably still don't. No conservative would care anyway; we only care about the quality of his ideas, not his skin color or tax bracket.posted by aaron at 3:34 PM on August 4, 2000
This discussion about "heroes" and people who "do things to help others," and the inability of wiremommy and thirteen to come together on what it all means, is a result of how liberals and conservatives view things differently. To liberals, such concrete, one-on-one examples of individuals doing something for other individuals are the best kind of proof that they care about people in general - and caring about people in general is, to them, the purest reason why they are superior to conservatives.
But to conservatives, such actions - or, more directly, the glorification of such actions - are damn near irrelevant, because we believe that you're supposed to do such things as a matter of course. Netbros nails this above; you do such things regardless of political beliefs. And to make a big deal out of it is, to conservatives, not merely tasteless but downright rude, to say nothing of the meanspiritedness of implying that conservatives don't do such good things.
And it can be taken deeper. The following is a gross oversimplification, but ... When liberals do things like give a homeless person a shopping cart so they can both have a nice shiny possession and have a way to carry around what little they have, they see it as a direct example of Doing a Good Thing for someone. But to a conservative, it looks nuts, because these people sbouldn't be homeless in the first place, and the while immediate impact of the Good Act makes the liberal feel better, and certainly is better for the homeless person than having to carry their clothes around in a plastic bag, it does absolutely nothing to get the homeless person back on their feet. (Of course, how to get them off the streets goes off into a lot more right-vs-left political debate on a whole range of issues.)posted by aaron at 4:06 PM on August 4, 2000
Anyway ... >>take any Communications 101 class...<<
I have. I was a journalism major in college. Know the principles, had some the the best professors in the country, and have worked in national and/or network news for years. And everything you say about journalism being liberal by definition is wrong. ". * ~ ( oooops, she blew it again! ) ~ * ". Sorry, song popped into my head.
As for The Media Monopoly, I own literally four copies of Bagdikian (with no c), various editions (there goes that annoying journalism education of mine.) And his arguments, while they have meaning, only rarely apply to the actions of the people on the front lines, the actual reporters. For every example of the Big Evil Conglomerate spiking a story about their own company, there are thousands of examples of reporters slanting their stories, subconciously or otherwise, towards their own personal liberal viewpoints.
The rest will have to wait till tomorrow. I'm tired.posted by aaron at 11:21 PM on August 4, 2000
As for the time lapse, life intervened over the weekend. Sorry.
Regarding my Britney Spears line: If you were to make some point in one of the occasional web-design threads on MeFi, and I then responded with a comment that "if you'd take a Web Design 101 course...", I would expect you, as a web designer, to be massively pissed off on a personal level. Whether or not I was familiar with what you do for a living wouldn't have much to do with it, because to imply that you're a complete imbecile in your chosen profession is always going to provoke an intense emotional response. And I would fully expect you to come back and say, "Listen pal..." So yes, I was extremely personally offended by what you said about taking a base-level journalism course, and responded in kind. If you want to forever discount anything I ever say because of it, well, there's not much I can do about that. But I'm still here responding, so I hope you understand I don't think that way about you, regardless.
Moving on ... I should have picked a better word to describe Rush than "debater"; I probably should have said something more like "commentator." But I only meant "debater" in terms of "putting across his points," in a public way where, obviously, any one can take what he says and respond, as they could with anyone else that publicly advocates certain points of view. That said, he accepts calls on his show from liberals all the time, when they bother to call in (there were at least three such calls just last week that I can recall off the top of my head), generally moving them right to the front of the line, where he's happy to debate them one-on-one. And the vast majority of call-in talk shows screen their callers to make sure they have something to say and have the ability to at least be articulate; there's nothing special about that at all. (There was one nut who called his show a couple of weeks ago to say that the Clinton Administration bombed the Concorde in order to get his Cheney selection off the front pages. Limbaugh didn't let him on the air, merely dismissing publicly that anyone could believe something that silly. Talk shows are inundated with callers like that; it's why screening is necessary.
WRT Limbaugh's mistakes, I fully admitted in a post up above that he screws up; that's not up for debate here. My point is that Everybody makes mistakes. (And mistakes are different from outright, intentional lies, as others have insinuated above that such mistakes are. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think that things such as accidentally referring to Betty Shabazz as Malcolm X's daughter instead of widow is an intentional distortion that somehow buttressed whatever point he was making at the time ... a point we don't know, since all context was conveniently left out of the quote in the now 6-year-old FAIR article.) In any case, it's quite simple to compile such compilations of "mistakes," or "lies," or "distortions" by anyone who talks in public for a living. Here, have a compilations of Al Gore's lies. Dubya's lies. On and on.
posted by aaron at 7:00 AM on August 7, 2000
Corporate ownership: Yeah, I know all about it. I've been smack dab in the middle of it, believe me. But there are two main reasons I don't think it's that big a deal:
1) Most big news outlets are owned by giant corporations, and those that aren't are themselves big media companies. Sure, agreed. But they're not all owned by the same big corporation. Disney certainly has quashed anti-Disney stories by ABCNEWS, but that doesn't mean that NBC or CBS or CNN has any reason to ignore such a story themselves. Indeed, they often have am incentive to cover such a story for personal glee. CNN in particular is a Time Warner operation, and Time Warner today is Disney's archrival in a number of ways; they'd love to make Disney look bad. (Though at the time of the Disney story we're referring to, they weren't yet such big rivals.) And I did see the Disney story get covered in other places. See, journalists get pissed off when their bosses quash something, and they'll leak big time to their friends, who will them go get the story out themselves. So, in the end, I don't think the whole corporate-ownership thing matters much. And I also think that the fact you can so easily quantify such cases is the exception that proves the rule.
On to my claim about personal slanting of stories to liberal viewpoints. It can be documented, and has. Example: A couple of years ago a media watchdog group (a relatively liberal one at that), canvassed Washington journalists and discovered that approximately 90% of them were registered Democrats. In addition, I've seen it myself. I was in a network newsroom throughout the entire Lewinsky/impeachment mess, and sat there taking it all in with my own eyes and ears as we all watched the never-ending press conferences on TV ... and everyone in the newsroom was openly lots of derisive anti-Lewinsky comments, anti-Starr comments, pro-Clinton comments, etc.
And that stuff gets into the reporting, whether consciously or not. For example, when Bush named Cheney, the DNC put out a "talking points" memo mentioning that Bush was doing this to add some "gravitas" (their word) to his campaign because, as they claim, Bush alone had none. Now, we both know that "gravitas" is not a word that gets used very much. But the moment it was, the entire press corps was all over it and parroting it as if they were DNC operatives. A Nexis search showed that the word "gravitas" made it into the mainstream media exactly twice since January 1, before Cheney. Since then, several hundred times. That simply wouldn't have happened if the press hadn't eaten up the DNC memo, decided that points within were totally correct, and worthy of being repeated.
Which, you know, would be just fine, as long as it went both ways, but it doesn't. Example: I'm sure you noticed that the press ate up the Democratic line that Dubya is a "daddy's boy" for picking Cheney, so much as speaking to him for advice, etc. (The fact that Bush pere was President and has direct experience in these things doesn't seem to matter.) Well, today during the Lieberman announcement, both Lieberman and Gore made much of how much they learned from and admired their fathers. Will anything at all be made of this? Any accusations that they're not their own men? We'll see. Not to make a snarky point or anything, but if you would listen to just one Rush show - any one sometime over the next few days, doesn't matter - you'll find that a very big chunk of what Rush does these days is uncover examples of people in the media covering things from their own personal liberal viewpoints and not providing equivalent coverage of the other side.
Onto the FAIR piece. Yes, the Shabazz thing was a small point, but it shows that FAIR is simply out to get Rush. If they weren't, they wouldn't have ever put something as petty as the Shabazz thing into the piece in the first place. Of course there are many bigger accusations therein, but they almost all seem to be based on things that they have to pick apart, compare to comments by people on the other side, etc. (Well, he said X about global warming, but it's based on something out of Dixie Lee Ray's book, who we all know is a nut, and anyway this other guy says it's not so, so nyah.) The Census thing? Economic data is just about the easiest thing on earth to meld to your own viewpoint; for any one piece of data, there's almost invariably another piece of data out there that would tend to indicate the exact opposite. Plus there's about a million different ways to look at things depending on how many pieces of data you mesh together. The Census says that income inequality was X then and Y now. But how was it calculated? A pure comparison of plain salaries? Did it factor in the effects of inflation? Or government programs available at different times? Did that "income" include any subsidies or entitlements? Often they don't, and the fact that you earned X in a real job doesn't mean so much if you made Y more money once you factored in welfare, social security, tax breaks, etc. (To paraphrase Clinton, it all depends on what your definition of "income" is.) And I don't know that any of this necessarily applies in this instance, but I don't know it doesn't. Personally, I'm not big on using government data to make any statement of any kind; it's just always based on things far more complicated than you would think from the rather simplistic terms they use.
Congress against the Gulf War? They were, at first. Early on it was just a Democratic Congress against a GOP president, who were of course skeptical that this might just be about oil and making Bush look good. They voted for it in the end, but that was after a buttload of lobbying and the realization that the public was largely for it. Simply focusing on the final vote is a major slanting of what was really going on at the time. As for Franken, I own his book, and consider what he said to be more of the same. (In the example you mentioned, what Franken is saying is that such a thing happened to tax rates while Reagan was in office. But that conveniently overlooks the fact that the president doesn't set taxes, Congress does. And the only way Reagan was able to get what he wanted was to play along with a Congress that was always at least half-Democratic, and often totally Democratic, during his term. And they wanted programs that required new taxes.)
I don't think Limbaugh is ever intentionally "compromised and dishonest." I think he makes mistakes. I think we all do. I'm sure if I started trolling through everything you've ever posted on MeFi, I could find things you've said, go out and find things to show that you were wrong about certain things you have said, and then posted the comparisons. You could do the same things to my comments. I just posted something today showing that something mathowie said about the Boston Tea Party was completely wrong. Doesn't mean any of us are dishonest, just not perfect.posted by aaron at 3:03 PM on August 8, 2000
Kind of odd that Moore's so big on Nader, since the polls are showing that almost all of Nader's support is coming at Gore's expense, and at the rate he's going, it stands a big chance of giving the election to Bush. Not that Gore's anywhere near what Moore wants, but he's sure gotta be closer than Bush. But maybe Moore really thinks Nader's got a chance.posted by aaron at 6:31 PM on August 8, 2000
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