Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Our Media

digby: He's So Like Boooring
OMG! Obama is like making us, like, sit and listen to rilly, rilly, like, boring junk about health care and noooobody caares! He talked for 17 whole minutes and I so like just wanted to diiie.

No way is he going to be my bff anymore.
Greg Sargent:

* CNN invited Rudy Giuliani on TV last night to showcase the national security expertise he earned getting photographed walking through the smoke and dust on 9/11. Per the transcript, he said Obama’s new nukes policy will embolden Iran:

“What he has failed to do is to create in their minds the real sense that there could be a military option. Because I think the only thing that will work with Iran is they’re thinking that there is a military consequence that could be faced if they become nuclear.”

Maybe Rudy missed the bit where Iran is exempted from the new policy?

* Either way, it’s obvious that Rudy knows far more about these matters than Defense


* Speaking of which, Mark Blumenthal has still more evidence skewering the notion that the Tea Party movement straddles the middle, or whatever the latest claim holds.

* Low-hanging-fruit watch: PolitiFact takes on John McCain’s ditching of the “maverick” label, concludes his pants are on fire.

Slajda (TPM): Fox News On U.S.-Russia Nuclear Pact: Cue The Mushroom Cloud (VIDEO)

In a teaser for a segment on Fox News today, anchor Megyn Kelly wondered aloud about the new nuclear START treaty President Obama is about to sign with Russia.

"Now critics are asking, will the new deal leave the U.S. defenseless until it's too late? Coming up, next hour," Kelly said.

Fox then cut to footage of a nuclear bomb exploding into a mushroom cloud before going to commercial.


DougJ: More tote than tea

This is something that mistermix has been telling me for years:

A common question on the left is, “Why is there no liberal talk radio?” That is, no wildly popular liberal version of Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or Laura Schlesinger. And the answer is: there is. It’s called NPR. When lefties listen to the radio, that’s what they listen to.

And here’s some data:

In one of the great under-told media success stories of the past decade, NPR has emerged not as the bespectacled schoolmarm of our imagination but as a massive news machine poised for what Dick Meyer, editorial director for digital media, half-jokingly calls “world domination.” NPR’s listenership has nearly doubled since 1999, even as newspaper circulation dropped off a cliff. Its programming now reaches 26.4 million listeners weekly — far more than USA Today’s 2.3 million daily circ or Fox News’ 2.8 million prime-time audience. When newspapers were closing bureaus, NPR was opening them, and now runs 38 around the world, better than CNN. It has 860 member stations — “boots on the ground in every town” that no newspaper or TV network can claim.

I’m not a big fan of NPR news. I find it weasely and annoying, though I do like the stuff from the BBC they run. But it is what lefties listen to.

I wonder if it would be better if NPR broke free of the government and supported itself entirely through private donation. If they fired Juan Williams, Ken Rudin, and Mara Liasson, I’d be happy to start giving them money again.

  • from the comments:


    So the liberal response to conservative talk radio is NPR which, on its best days, is centrist and most days tilts center-right?

    I think on the demographics point you are right – if liberals are listening to talk radio its likely NPR. Its also interesting that NPR will emerge out of this media meltdown as a near-private analogue to BBC with their radio driving their version of print (which will just be on-line articles.

  • Kevin Drum adds:

    Now, NPR is obviously not any kind of direct analog to Rush. It's not a one-man talk show. It has a generally liberal worldview, but it doesn't traffic in the kind of in-your-face partisanship that Rush does. It has an eclectic variety of shows. And its audience comes from all over the ideological spectrum.

    Still: when people wonder why lefties won't listen to talk radio, they're wondering the wrong thing. Lefties do listen to the radio, they just prefer listening to a different kind of radio than conservatives. But why? I'm thinking about a piece for the magazine right now that hasn't really taken form yet, but as I noodle about it this is one of the questions that I keep coming back to: when it comes to radio listening, why do conservatives prefer the style of Rush/Sean/Laura/etc. while liberals tend to prefer the style of NPR? Is it just a historical accident or is there something more to it?

Dave Weigel has a new WaPost blog on the right wing:

So Republicans elected Steele as a likable counterweight to Barack Obama. In pretty short order the Tea Party movement became a stronger counterweight to Obama -- look at the trouble Democrats get into when they criticize the movement -- and conservative donors and fundraisers took on the Obama agenda by themselves. Steele, instead of crafting some new, fuzzy, moderate GOP image, has been playing a lot of catch-up to the conservative base. I have yet to meet a Republican who thinks Steele can win another term, but I don't know why he'd try. It's not in the RNC's interest to elect another ready-for-TV frontman; it's in the interest of conservatives with those skills to strike out on their own, outside of the party.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) was on NBC's "Today" show earlier, ostensibly to offer some support for beleaguered RNC Chairman Michael Steele. Gingrich suggested it's "foolish" for Republicans to focus on Steele's scandals when "it's better to focus on Democrats."

But while he was there, the former Speaker also shared his thoughts on the Affordable Care Act.

"First of all, this is a really bad bill. The more we learn about it, the worse it is. If you say to the average American do you really want to have 16,000 more IRS agents as a brand-new health police? They're going to say, 'No.'"

Gingrich also appeared on "Fox & Friends" this morning, and made a nearly identical claim.

Two quick thoughts here. First, Gingrich is lying about the IRS agents. It's not even close to being true. scrutinized the charge last week and concluded that's a "wildly inaccurate claim," predicated on "outright misrepresentation." Every objective analysis of the claim has found it unsupportable. Newt's casual disregard for reality continues to be tiresome.

Second, why is Newt Gingrich on "Today" in the first place? The pseudo-intellectual clown hasn't held public office since the '90s. He was driven from his leadership post in disgrace -- by members of his own party -- nearly 12 years ago.

Will "Today" also call on former House Speakers Jim Wright (D-Texas) and Tom Foley (D-Wash.) for their thoughts on current events? (For the record, I can't find any record of either of them appearing on "Today" at any point in the last 15 years.)

I'm not especially surprised -- "Meet the Press" had Gingrich on as a guest five times in 2009, more than any other any other political figure in the United States -- but it's frustrating, especially when his bogus claims go unchecked on the air.

Drum: Chutzpah Award of the Week
In a column today declaring that "global warming is dead," Wall Street Journal editor Bret Stephens marshals this as part of his evidence:

In Britain, environmentalist patron saint James Lovelock now tells the BBC he suspects climate scientists have "[fudged] the data" and that if the planet is going to be saved, "it will save itself, as it always has done."

This takes herculean chutzpah. It's true that Lovelock thinks that climate scientists at East Anglia might have fudged some data, but here's what he has to say to BBC interviewer John Humphrys about climate change more generally:

Humphrys: You say "if" global warming happens. You believe it both is and will get a lot worse?

Lovelock: Yes, I do believe it will get a lot worse. You can't put something like a trillion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere without something nasty happening.

Humphrys: How many of us, in your view, will not survive in the process?

Lovelock: ....If it really does warm up as badly as I've said in [The Vanishing Face of Gaia], as it might well do, then we'll be lucky if there's a billion left.

Humphrys: So in other words, seven out of eight will die?

Lovelock: Well, something like that.

Humphrys: Do you believe the science has been misrepresented to us?

Lovelock: No, I just think there are too many people doing it.

The only reason Lovelock says the earth "will save itself, as it always has done" is because he thinks climate change is likely to be so catastrophic that there's nothing we can do about it anymore. And by "save itself," he means only that the globe will go on spinning but with about seven billion of us dead.

I think Lovelock is wrong about it being too late to affect climate change, but that's neither here nor there. Regardless of whether he's right about that, to quote him in support of the idea that climate change is a gigantic hoax simply takes titanic balls. Did Stephens really think that no one on this side of the Atlantic would bother to actually listen to the interview?

John Cole: Won’t You Think of the Poor Upper Crust?

I’m betting almost the entire WaPo op-ed page is going to stage a synchronized fainting session tomorrow:

Fresh from raising taxes on upper-income Americans to help expand health insurance coverage, President Obama and Democratic lawmakers are targeting them again.

When Congress takes up Obama’s proposed $3.8 trillion budget this year, it will include extending President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for middle-income families enacted in 2001 and 2003. Tax cuts for individuals with income above $200,000 and couples above $250,000 would be eliminated.

The effective tax increase on the upper income would yield about $41 billion next year and $969 billion over the next decade, according to the Treasury Department. The White House says that would help reduce the $1.5 trillion budget deficit.

The horror of it all.

  • from the comments:


    Republicans like to venerate the 50’s as a time when America was a moral paragon of good virtues. As an olive branch to their ideals, let’s roll the tax rates back to 90%.

    I suggested this a while back to a winger relative. The expression on his face was priceless.

I have some fairly serious concerns about congressional Republicans. In fact, my list of concerns is pretty long, and keeps growing. GOP lawmakers, with frightening frequency, seem to struggle with honesty, integrity, seriousness of purpose, decency, intellectual curiosity, etc.

But perhaps nothing is as disconcerting as the fact that congressional Republicans usually appear to have no idea what they're talking about. On nearly every major policy matter, GOP officials -- the ones elected to help shape federal policy -- seem to have no working knowledge of any issue.

For example, Vanity Fair contributing editor and best-selling author Michael Lewis recently reflected on his experience talking to a House Republican book group about his work documenting the near-collapse of the global financial markets.

"I was supposed to be there for an hour," says Lewis in the clip above, referring to his visit with the Hill staffers. "I was there for almost three. And nobody left. And their questions were increasingly: 'Oh my God, Goldman Sachs did what? A.I.G. did what?' They didn't understand it ... The minute they started to understand, they were outraged."

Now, it may seem understandable that these 40 to 50 House Republicans were ignorant about what transpired when the economy collapsed. This is, after all, a complicated matter, involving complex financial mechanisms that most Americans never have to deal with.

But I'm not especially inclined to cut these lawmakers slack. Michael Lewis' talk with the GOP's book group was in December -- 16 months after the crash that pushed the global economy to the brink of collapse. It's their job to have a clue.

In fact, the same month that these Republican House members asked, "Oh my God, Goldman Sachs did what?" these same lawmakers voted, en masse, against a financial regulatory reform bill that intends to change the way Wall Street operates.

The timing is worth appreciating for context. Lewis talked to these House members -- the ones who "didn't understand" the scope of the issue -- about the crisis on Dec. 3. Nine days later, the House approved a bill reforming Wall Street, and every single Republican in the chamber opposed the legislation.

When RNC Chairman Michael Steele conceded in January that he isn't sure whether Republicans are ready to lead, he was on to something.

No comments:

Post a Comment