Friday, November 14, 2008


Talking Points Memo reader: "Here is something progressives really need to address. On Sunday morning political shows, three Democrats are confirmed as guests: Carl Levin, Barney Frank, and Charlie Rangel. It's as if Democrats didn't just win huge electoral advances in the Presidential, House, and Senate elections. So we get the same thing we've had the past 8 years--republican hegemony on Sunday. Kyl? Check. Gingrich? Check. Steele? Check. Jindal and Shelby? Check and check? Just look at The Page for the whole list. When is the 'liberal media' going to give some of the oxygen to Democrats?"

The perfect storm of the election did not reach the Media. And, it is a serious problem. Tellingly, TPM doesn't put its own voice forward -- it uses "a reader" to make this point.

The corporate Media is a right-wing propaganda operation, which poisons the political discourse. This is a serious problem.

Is Your Money Safe?

Felix Salmon: "Is Your Money Safe at Citibank?"

If you have to ask . . .

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Truth and Consequences

James Wimberley:
"will Obama undo Bush's legacy and restore America to its previous prestige and hegemony?

No. . . .

Sometime around 1991, shortly before fairly amicable splitting up of Czechoslovakia, I found myself talking to a group of Czechoslovak university rectors. I hit on a metaphor for their moral condition: the folk tale of the Sleeping Beauty. She had been, like the countries of the Soviet empire, bound in lethargy and illusion by the spells of wicked magicians. The enchantment breaks, and the young woman wakes up. But she does not wake up to the world of her memories. Time is not cheated; the light of day is harsh; the world has changed, and is indifferent to her pathetic story. Her hope of survival and happiness depends on her accepting that there is no going back.

I think this applies to the USA today. George Bush and Osama bin Laden have between them blown the American moment of hyperpower glory. Relative decline was as inevitable as in 1945, but while Truman, Acheson, and Marshall delayed it by trading hard for soft power in a web of new global and transatlantic institutions, Bush and the neocons accelerated it by hubris and stupidity. Obama's administration will start with a lot of goodwill, but it should not mistake this for a willingness to put the clock back.

The always grandiloquent epithet "Leader of the Free World" now fails the giggle test. And Larry Summers would be a bad choice for a job that will involve a regular diet of humble pie.

After the Storm . . . another storm?

Hullabaloo: "this time, instead of a mere womanizing good old boy from Arkansas, we will have a president who these people literally believe is a foreign, barbaric, baby killing, communist, Muslim terrorist. They think the liberals have illegitimately taken over the political system and are literally endangering the country in order to force their foreign philosophy on Real Americans. They believe that violence is always the best way to deal with enemies, lest they live to fight another day. They are hoarding guns. You do the math."

The rump of the Republican Party -- especially in greater Appalachia and (the white-supremacist parts of) the Deep South -- notably including the Republican caucus in Congress -- is Stupid and Crazy. Shorn of the parental supervision usually provided by Responsible Rich, who have migrated to the Democratic Party, they will stand ready to resume Power as a neo-Populist fascism, and if Obama is killed, or makes some serious policy errors, they may just get the chance.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Matthew Yglesias » Beyond “Bias”

Dialectic lives in the blogosphere.

Below Matthew Yglesias and Kevin Drum discuss the perils and shortfalls of "objective" journalism:

Matthew Yglesias » Beyond “Bias”: "I don’t, for example, think I ever saw a television network or mass-media publication provide a cogent explanation of the differences between Barack Obama’s climate change proposal and John McCain’s climate change proposal even though the proposals contained some important differences. I have no idea whether this was attributable to “bias” or even how I would know. Nor am I sure which candidate would benefit from exploring this question. I am, however, sure that I’ve several times seen their plans described as being the same on the grounds that they’re both “cap and trade” plans. That’s false. Does the habit of saying it reflect bias? And bias toward whom? Who knows and who cares? What matters is the information — accurate information about important topics should be conveyed in a clear manner."

Kevin Drum - Mother Jones Blog: Cap and Fade: "The biggest difference between the two cap-and-trade plans, of course, is that Obama seems to actually believe in his proposal whereas McCain pretty plainly doesn't. For him, it's just window dressing that would almost certainly have been forgotten as soon as he got in office.

But how do you get that across? I'm pretty sure I'm right about this, but I certainly can't prove it. And any straight news reporters who took my line would (rightfully) be accused of massive bias."

Matthew Yglesias » Beyond “Bias”: "Simply put, it’s not possible for working journalists to purge themselves of bias, nor is it possible for readers or critics to adduce definitive proof of bias. Making spurious claims of bias in order to try to get journalists to pursue the impossible task of eliminating their mental biases is impossibility squared. It’s an intellectually bankrupt dead-end."

Yes, it is Matthew. "Just the facts" is not a real option. The facts, as the joke has it, have a well-known liberal bias. And, the campaign against the "liberal bias" in the Media is part of an effort to make of the corporate Media, a reliable right-wing propaganda operation -- a largely successful operation, by the way.