“Whining”

Whining

I said that we would learn a lot about individual political commentators fairness and integrity by observing their reactions to the nakedly anti-GOP bias displayed by the CNBC moderators, especially John Harwood, in the recent Republican debate, and indeed we have. To any objective analyst who isn’t poisoned by partisan prejudice—and no such analysts has any business practicing journalism until they are cured of the malady—the breach of objectivity and professionalism evinced by such antagonistic queries as…

 

  • “Is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?” (Harwood to Trump)
  •  “I talked to economic advisers who have served presidents of both parties. They said that you have as chance of cutting taxes that much without increasing the deficit as you would of flying away from that podium by flapping your arms.” (Harwood to Trump)
  • “So what analysis got you to the point where you think this will work?” (Quick to Carson)
  • “You want to bring 70,000 pages to three? Is that using really small type? Is that using really small type? (Quintanilla to Fiorina)

…is obvious, alarming and unacceptable. Those are attacks framed as questions, and the moderators are not supposed to attack the candidates.  Debate questions should be tough; here is one of the first televised debate questions ever from journalist Sander Vanocur to Richatrd Nixon in the initial Nixon-Kennedy debate:

VANOCUR:  Mr. Vice President, since the question of executive leadership is a very important campaign issue, I’d like to follow Mr. Novins’ question. Now, Republican campaign slogans – you’ll see them on signs around the country as you did last week – say it’s experience that counts – that’s over a picture of yourself; sir- implying that you’ve had more governmental executive decision-making  experience than your opponent. Now, in his news conference on August24, President Eisenhower was asked to give one example of a major idea of yours that he adopted. His reply was, and I’m quoting; “If you give me a week I might think of one. I don’t remember.” Now that was a month ago, sir, and the President hasn’t brought it up since, and I’m wondering, sir, if you can clarify which version is correct – the one put out by Republican campaign leaders or the one put out by President Eisenhower?

Tough. Yet there is no sarcasm, or editorializing insults in the question, no mockery, as in the “really small type” crack. Indeed, Vanocur’s question could be from a friendly journalist and Nixon ally (giving him a chance to defuse an embarrassing incident) or a hostile one. That is professional journalism…ah, I had almost forgotten what it looks like! Faced with across the panel hostility, however, the 2016 class of Republican candidates had two choices: accept the status quo, represented by

  • CNN’s Candy Crowley interfering with the last 2012 debate and throwing President Obama a misleading life-line when he was being pressed by Mitt Romney on his participation in the same lie that Hillary’s e-mails exposed regarding the Benghazi attack
  • ABC’s Martha Raddatz allowing Joe Biden to flout debate ettiquette by constantly interrupting Paul Ryan in the 2012 Vice Presidential debate.
  • Anderson Cooper shutting out the one moderate in the Democratic debate, James Webb, several times not asking him questions that the other fur candidates were given chances to answer.*
  • Obvious and documented favoritism toward Barack Obama in both the 2008 and 2012 debate
  • The evisceration of Sarah Palin based on her “lack of experience” in the 2008 campaign, with Obama’s greater lack of experience virtually ignored,
  • The major news organizations, except for Fox, openly lobbying the public for Democratic proposed policy measures, like gun control, amnesty for illegal immigrants, the Affordable Care Act, and more.
  • Statistics showing that progressives outnumber conservatives in the media by more than 4-1.

…or to start objecting to it, as well as the dangerous warping of the democratic process it represents. They have, and it should be taken as a non-partisan boon to the nation.

It is not healthy, and indeed dangerous to have journalists so lopsidedly supporting  one party against  the other, so allied with the government, and so far from objective. The danger, and the fact that CNBC crossed any reasonable limits of bias and unfairness  were immediately acknowledged by such predictable liberals as Juan Williams, Piers Morgan, Tina Brown’s Daily Beast, Bill Maher, and Carl Bernstein, among others.

Another segment of the media, however, those who believe that their occupation gives them the license and obligation to tilt news reporting and public opinion the “right” way, as well as Democrats, who hope to hold on to power with the news media as their front line, hit on a proven strategy from the playground to marginalize and trivialize the issue. Dismiss the complaints as “whining.”

Those who abuse their power to the detriment of others have always used this unethical tactic.

Cry baby, cry

Stick your finger in your eye.

Tell your mother it wasn’t I…

It’s been the mantra of abusers, cheater, incompetents and bullies since before the Mother Goose lyric. We hear it in sports, as when a star NFL quarterback is caught cheating in a play-off game and the losing team has the effrontery to object. We hear it in elections, as when a Presidential ticket wins the popular vote, appears to have lost the electoral vote by a handful of votes in Florida, demands a recount, and is mocked as “Sore-Loserman.” When one approves of a complaint, even if it is a vague and unfocused one, it is a principled protest. When one benefits from the conditions being complained about, the protest becomes “whining.” Martin Luther King was protesting; white college applicants who had better credentials than black applicants admitted through affirmative action policies were “whining.”

What the wielder of the whining label is doing is essentially saying, “Yeah, well, it may be unfair but there’s nothing you can do about it, so shut up and take it quietly. We’re tired of listening.” That’s how “whining” is being used to counter the absolutely legitimate Republican complaints about media bias. (The idiotic letter the RNC drafted and its “demands,” on the other hand, deserves to be mocked.)

President Obama, who always reveals his obnoxious inner jerk when he’s off script, said to cheers last night at a fundraiser:

“Have you noticed that every one of these candidates say, ‘Obama’s weak. Putin’s kicking sand in his face. When I talk to Putin, he’s going to straighten out. Then it turns out they can’t handle a bunch of CNBC moderators at the debate. Let me tell you, if you can’t handle those guys, then I don’t think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried about you.”

This is one of the more transparently dishonest uses of the “whining” theme, though the word itself isn’t used. Obama really is shameless:

  1. Putin isn’t kicking sand in Obama’s face?
  2. The candidates—Rubio, Christie, Cruz, Kasich— handled CNBC rather deftly. If only Obama was capable of being so assertive with Putin.
  3.  Comparing CNBC and the Republicans to Putin and the U.S. acknowledges that the GOP is correct to object. See, Mr. President, the news media is supposed to be neutral, not the enemy of one party and the ally of another. Putin is our enemy. The press is not supposed to be a major party’s enemy.  As a narcissist, however, Obama is incapable of seeing a group biased in his direction as anything but wise and virtuous.
  4. Obama’s a hypocrite on this issue. He has complained about the one network that doesn’t lick his boots, Fox, for his entire administration, and in 2008, he joined the other Presidential aspirants in boycotting a planned Fox News hosted Democratic debate, alleging bias.

Sometimes the “whining” works to everybody’s benefit, except for those who had profited from injustice. For years, Major League Baseball umpires and the fans whose teams won games and championships due to terrible calls dismissed complaints by aggrieved players, managers and teams as “whining.” Then video replay exposed just how horrible those calls were, and because  the technology was available, baseball moved to a video review system. Hundreds of bad calls, many of them decisive in the score, are now overturned, and incompetent umpires now know they are accountable. Some have been fired.As with the GOP complaints about the biased news media, the complaints about incompetent umpires weren’t whining at all. They were a legitimate attempt to focus attention on a problem that could be fixed, once there was an acknowledgment of the problem.

Journalists have been acting for decades according to their arrogant assumption that their blatant partisan bias was immune from accountability. Those who mock attempts to hold partisan journalists accountable by playing the “whining” card are the unethical ones, not the GOP candidates who finally said that they weren’t going to take it any more.

They are the ones standing up for democracy.

____________________

*Webb was mocked in many columns and cartoons for “whining” that he was being shorted on opportunities to speak. But he was shorted, it was unfair, and he was correct to complain, both during and after the debate.

 

44 thoughts on ““Whining”

  1. Suppose someone, back in 2008 or 2012, told a news producer that he had documentation that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. The person offering the documents changes his story twice. He tells the producer to not contact the person who gave him the documentation.

    would any news producer have run a story based on the documentation?

  2. Every winner thinks he is inherently superior to the loser, that he won fair and square, it was for the best, and the loser should just sit down, shut up, and improve himself in the hopes of doing better next time. In some cases there is also a feeling that the loser, particularly if he is perceived as not cool or not part of the in crowd, can never improve himself, no matter how much he tries, or how skilled he becomes, and should just accept his lesser lot in life, because he is inferior. A cry of protest challenges this set of assumptions, and is easily brushed aside by the winner as sore loserism, sour grapes, that the loser just didn’t want it bad enough, or any number of other easy dismissals, which, unfortunately, appear to have some merit, because it’s very easy to agree that yes, if the loser had wanted it badly enough, he’d be the winner, and if it’s the non-cool kid, who cares what he says anyway? He doesn’t count.

    The fact of the matter is that this nation has started to substitute partisan or “right-thinking” for being “cool” or the “in-crowd.” The left has now been in power at the national level and controlled the national narrative for so long that they have come to think of themselves, if they already didn’t, as the cool crowd, the in-crowd, the inherently superior crowd. They are the football heroes, the homecoming queens, the Rhodes Scholars, everything that’s smarter and better than everyone else. The right are the average folks who can run the machines and do the paperwork, but that’s all they are good for. They either have no vision or the vision they have is out of date and pedestrian, so they must not be allowed to lead. If they won’t simply accept their inherent lesser status, then they have to be reminded of it, and if a quiet reminder to stay in their lane doesn’t do it, then they have to be shown that their betters can run circles around them. If they protest, then they have to be shown to be inherently weak for protesting. No matter what it takes, they need to be put back into their place. The left already wrote the narrative of how a cool black community organizer came out of Chicago and rode a wave of popular discontent with the right all the way to the White House, where he achieved great things and paved the way for the first female President, who would achieve even greater things and finally bring this nation to its full potential. This nation simply CAN’T change that narrative now.

  3. They played that Obama clip on the news last night. It drove me up the wall. Mr. Obama, smugness is not an appealing quality, and 8 years of failed leadership makes you a hypocrite for criticizing the perceived lack of leadership ability in the Republican field.

    And I just wanted to second Steve-O-in-NJ’s well-observed comment about the Left as the “in-crowd.” I’ve shared links to some of your posts on Facebook, Mr. Marshall (hope that’s alright), when I’ve come across posts, say, characterizing Clinton as the victim of a witch hunt, or describing Jim Webb, a war hero, as “weird.” All it seems to get you is ignored and/or unfollowed. That’s sad.

    • It happens in college. The cool smart people are liberal arts majors or “studies” majors nowadays, I guess. The uncool dumb ones go into business and quantitative things or hard things like pre-med. Or else the cool ones are from the northeast or LA or SF. It’s terrible. Spend some time in and around NYC. Everyone is above average and virulently Democrat. Might as well be Hollywood. Meanwhile, most of the rest of the country has their head down and is simply trying to survive.

  4. I’m still upset by the CNN Democratic debate. How, with only five candidates on the stage, did they fail to ask the same questions of each one? There are Democrats and Independents who would rather chew glass than vote for HRC or Bernie Sanders.

    • Don’t you know? Your media doesn’t care. The regressive left has shanghai’d your infrastructure, and no one seemed to notice until recently. Take it back.

  5. People like John Harwood who mock the Republican candidates for “whining” are the first to complain that they are offended by a candidate’s rebuttal. They play dirty like most of the media and are massive hypocrites.

  6. Noah D; someone has commented that: “Getting unfriended – ‘unfollwed’ – is wonderful, it’s like the trash takes itself out!.” Just let them go to a free speech site that doesn’t have any.

    • I hate being unfriended. I usually can’t figure out who or why, and it drives me crazy.
      I just unfriended about 30 people myself. But not the very nice guy who keeps posting memes by Occupy Democrats…

  7. On the face of it, “three pages,” “comic book,” and “flapping your arms” would appear to be just what you say – outrageously impolite examples of bias. I’m not sure I agree with that, but it does raise an ancillary question: What if those statements are actually justified?

    What I mean is this. While both Dems and GOP are occasionally prone to exaggeration, or even outright misleading, the balance is far from 50/50. The GOP (or should I say the menagerie formerly described as a political party) has a far more tenuous relationship with reality than the Democrats.

    Some examples:

    The leading candidate (Carson) has suggested that Darwin had a relationship with Satan; appears to think that mere attrition will suffice to rectify federal debt limits; appears not to understand the difference between the budget and the debt limit; believes if the Jews were armed they wouldn’t have been run over by the Nazis; and of course he believes that the lack of government experience (which used to leveled as a negative charge by his party against Obama) is actually a qualifying trait.

    May I suggest that, if any set of beliefs DESERVES to be highlighted as far out, Disney-worldish, loopy, comic-booky, it is this candidate’s set. For a respectable journalist NOT to point out how ridiculous this is would be malpractice.

    Then there’s the former poll leader. He baldly asserts that the reason the Fed isn’t raising rates is because Obama told Janet Yellen not to. That is an outrageous lie, inflammatory, indicative of some weird mix of naivete and conspiracy thinking. Or how about expelling 10 million people? What are the odds that is EVER going to happen? How is that not evidence of a departure from reality?

    Speaking of reality disconnects, there is Carly’s ‘three page’ income tax policy; or if you prefer, Cruz’s postcard tax return. Can anyone reading this seriously quote odds that the Federal Income tax policy will be reduced from 73,000 pages to three? One in a thousand? In ten thousand? A million? I will happily take on all bets. And may I point out the obvious: she’s talking about something that is utterly disconnected from reality. Only such a person could claim that a 50% destruction of shareholder value under her watch somehow is a positive attribute for her resume.

    What do you do as a reporter when someone says something so patently disconnected from reality? I suggest, the reporter should call them on it, and not with a pretense of politeness either.

    This is a characteristic of the GOP in recent years. The one candidate willing to call out the idiocy on parade – Kasich – got dismissed because of his optics – he was no more blustery than Cruz, but was talking truth to an audience that doesn’t want to hear it.

    The entire party continues to believe in a myth – supply side economic. It’s something that a previous Bush (Poppy) called Voodoo, and that has been disproven time and again (quick version: Regan lowered taxes and raised unemployment; Clinton raised taxes and lowered unemployment. Updated version – see Kansas governor Brownback’s failure to deliver on his trickle down theory, resulting in an 840 million debt float to cover his ‘oops’)

    More signs of out-there beliefs: Cruz wanting to turn the clock back to 1932 and go back on the Gold standard – to fight inflation? Hello? What inflation? This is just like Rick Perry babbling about “debasing” the currency. Republicans can’t admit that deflation is a bigger risk than inflation – instead, they demonstrate conspiracy thinking by hinting that the BLS is controlled by Obama.

    It goes on, and on, and on. Inflation must exist, because the Fed “must be” causing it via QE. Except it doesn’t. Taxes must be cut, because they “have to” result in trickle down job gains for the middle class. Except it hasn’t.

    The left is occasionally disconnected from reailty too – a tough question to Sanders was basically “What makes you believe a socialist can get elected to president in the United States?” Tough question? You bet. Good question? Ditto.

    Unless you believe that somehow the left and the right are equally out of bounds on occasion, I think it’s the job of the press to call out emperors without clothes. But the presence of naked emperors is far more evident these days on the right.

    Remember “If you can back it up, it ain’t bragging”? May I suggest, if a reporter can suggest that a position is lunacy, they have not just a right but an obligation to call it for what it is.

    • Comment of the Day, Charlie. I disagree almost entirely—Bernie Sanders’ idea of budgeting, for example, and his comfort with spending trillions more than we are already on things like free college for everyone, is every bit as ridiculous as anything Donald Trump has said, but its still a great comment. Thanks.

        • What I mean is this. While both Dems and GOP are occasionally prone to exaggeration, or even outright misleading, the balance is far from 50/50. The GOP (or should I say the menagerie formerly described as a political party) has a far more tenuous relationship with reality than the Democrats.

          The Republican base is not too enamored about Carly Fiorina, and Jack Marshall has written about how Donald Trump is not exactly presidential material. (Sadly, even some of my Usenet allies support Donald Trump.

          But on the Dem side, we have people advocating that colleges expel people for suspicion of rape if there is only a 20% chance of guilt.

          On the Dem side, we have the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights pretending to be the Supreme Court, coming up with completely ludicrous interpretations of Title IX such that it requires a preponderance of evidence standard when adjudicating sexual harassment claims, and that it prohibits cross-examination of witnesses.

          On the Dem side, we have people arguing that rape is as common in college campuses as it is in the war-torn Congo region of Africa.

          On the Dem side, we have the Justice Department threatening to punish schools for racial discrimination if they choose to punish misconduct.

          On the Dem side, we have the EEOC suing businesses for running criminal background checks on the basis that it is racist.

          On the Dem side, we have the same people claiming that requiring a photo ID to vote is racist because it places a disparate burden on minorities, while simultaneously supporting universal background checks on firearm purchases, ignoring any concerns about a disparate impact on minorities

          On the Dem side, we have accusations that the police are racist, while simultaneously claiming that these police officers be trusted with discretion to decide who may carry a concealed weapon.

          On the Dem side, we have people claiming that an employer is imposing religion and denying access to women’s health if they refuse to offer health insurance that includes contraception without co-pay, even though it would be ludicrous to claim that employers are imposing their religion and denying access to women’s wine if they refuse to offer coupons for BevMo.

          Who in Congress ever advocated that people should be imprisoned for saying that evolution is true?

          • Michael, a pretty fair set of points, I agree. The big sin of the left is cultural, having to do with an excess of zeal around things like PC (by the way, the best takedown EVER of PC culture is in the season openers on SouthPark this year).

            But note you say “On the Dem side, we have people who…” Yes, that’s largely true. But on the GOP side, we have people RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT who….” If you ask Hillary about any one of those issues, for example, you’ll get a complex answer to a complex question – not a refusal to answer, or a blame-the-messenger answer.

      • The only redeeming quality of this poorly written satire is that the it’s the best he can do to save face for the atrocious jokes that the Democrat party has shaken out this cycle.

        I was almost embarrassed for the man.

    • Charles, maybe the Jews would have ultimately been “run over”, but in my opinion it is better to die on your feet than on your knees. Witness what happened in the Warsaw Ghetto when the SS rolled in. So Carson isn’t wrong about everything.

    • Well… that about covers every Democrat talking point, I guess. I’ve come to this thread VERY late, so I’ll only say this. Last night, Fox Business’ panel showed everyone how to moderate a presidential debate fairly and without the panelists’ egos coming forefront. In the process- ironically- it boosted the journalistic prestige of Neal Cavuto, Maria Bartiromo and the guy from WSJ.

  8. “Speaking of reality disconnects, there is Carly’s ‘three page’ income tax policy; or if you prefer, Cruz’s postcard tax return. Can anyone reading this seriously quote odds that the Federal Income tax policy will be reduced from 73,000 pages to three? ”

    The question Charles, isn’t will it, it is CAN IT? It easily can be and it would be more ‘fair’ that what we have now. Here is an example of a simple federal income tax plan.
    I. Personal income tax.
    (1) Each person pays income tax on their income. The category is for all individuals, no matter what marital status. All income will be treated equally.

    (2) Here are the tax brackets
    0-$15,000 0%
    $15,001-$20,000 5%
    $20,001-35,000 10%
    $35,001-$55,000 15%
    $55,001-$75,000 20%
    $75,001-$100,000 25%
    $100,001-$250,000 30%
    $250,0001+ 35%

    (3) Your employer will be responsible for sending the proper tax amount to the IRS. The last payment of the year will contain any corrective amount needed (less or more). Self-employed individuals will send their income taxes to the IRS in quarterly amounts or may hire an outside firm to send them monthly. The last payment of the year must contain any corrective amount, so that the amount of taxes for the year matches the amount required for the income for that tax year.

    II. Corporate income tax.

    Corporations will pay a tax rate of 2% on their income (revenue) monthly.

    See, it doesn’t have to be that hard. Sure, there are no deductions, but that makes it more fair. Why should someone with a bigger house get a bigger tax break than me? Why should people with lots of kids require me to pay more taxes to make up for their share? Why should the middle class have to pay for the tax breaks for the rich?

    • Michael, the challenge is not to conceptually outline a reasonable tax plan.

      The real world challenge – which the press ought to confront people with – is all the really messy stuff that is required before such a plan would ever see the light of day. For example:

      -Most of these tax plans reduce net tax receipts. It is totally incumbent on proposers to suggest WHERE the offsets will come from. So far, every knee-jerk Republican insists they will come from (loony) supply-side economics and from plugging ‘fraud and waste,’ something every politician since Teddy Roosevelt has promised. Details matter.

      -You can’t just implement a simple tax without unwinding all the old issues. For example: what will be done about the home mortgage interest deduction? NOBODY will buy dropping it instantly; it’d have to be phased out. But over how long? The same way for everyone?

      -What about deductibility of state income tax? How should we phase out earned income credits? Means-testing?

      -What about the patent unfairness of taxing on corporate revenue alone: a flat 2% tax on a company in an industry with 35% margins is a mere pittance; but a 2% tax on a company in an industry with 3% margins (say, grocery stores) will put the entire industry out of business. How are you going to deal with the wildly disparate impacts on profitability that such a plan proposes?

      -The same point applies for the high-growth segment of small business – personal corporations of one. Highly leveraged businesses, businesses built on volume and businesses with low margins will be heavily affected, while businesses with high margins will feel taxed like a feather. Do we really want to dis-incent people going into efficiency-based volume-based businesses for the sake of a simplified corporate tax plan?

      There are hundreds of real-life issues like this, and it’s as irresponsible for a politician to shout “simplify” as it is to shout “racist” or “freedom.” The art of governing does not lie in simplification, it lies in mastery of complexity.

      By the way I agree pretty much with your clauses 1, 2 and 3 – and they’re not in principle all that different from existing tax policy, except that they ignore all that messy detail that makes for real laws.

      The challenge is not design, it’s implementation. And politicians who insist on simplification are all too often just demagogues, selling snake oil to people who want simple answers and can’t be bothered with detail.

  9. Jack,
    Why does literally every politically-themed article you write now continue to accept the antiquated “left vs. right” dichotomy? Almost no one under a certain age openly identifies as a conservative because most of the pensioners whining (conservatives do it ALL the time) on those stages have no conception of how to reach the young. Meanwhile, the pensioners on the other side of the aisle are little better, except they’ve at least learned to adopt the rhetoric.

    Who would want to identify with the type of conservatism you’re talking about? Richard Nixon had to be the most evil men to hold office (and I’m not talking about Watergate). Even the “greats” (like Reagan) were still mired in social policy that was antiquated even by the standards of his day. What amazes me is how you yourself have effectively disqualified all the major candidates on the right, and yet act as though it’s surprising public opinion is geared the other way. If these are the sort of people wearing the name “conservative,” then of course most people have no interest being associated with them.

    As I said, the Democrats are no better, but at least they don’t espouse religious morals that mean nothing to anyone, or still deride the current state of marriage as being immoral. Or make idiotic statements about “traditional American values” as though continuity is what makes a society great.

    Both parties, like feudalism before them, have completely lost touch with the modern world and are becoming just as irrelevant.

    Sincerely,
    Neil

    PS: Donald Trump IS a comic book. He offensively rants and whines about problems that he has no solutions for and antagonizes anyone who disagrees. What’s more. his campaign has never been about anything other than publicity and, if more people don’t call him out on it, we’re going to end up with boorish, media-whore sitting in the Oval Office. I agree the questions were antagonistic, but that wasn’t one of them.

    • Biased, ignorant, and counter-factual comment, Neil, from calling Nixon evil (which he was not) to Harwood insulting Trump. I’ll be kind and let most of it alone.

      Whether you or anyone else think Trump is ridiculous doesn’t matter. Harwood was a moderator, not an advocate. He doesn’t get to insult candidates or mock them: that’s for the other candidates: It’s A DEBATE!

      If you can’t figure that out (you’re in good company: Charles find the concept confounding as well) then you really have no basis to discuss this.

  10. Also, considering that no one (on either side) actually answers the questions their asked, who cares how belligerent or offensive they are?

    For examples, see: “What’s your greatest weakness?” Not ONE person listen a genuine weakness, they were all mini stump-speeches about how they have too much integrity, don’t compromise enough, or are TOO optimistic.

    I’d rather listen to Jimmy Carter. At least he’s articulate. Yech!

    • They lower themselves by answering rude questions. I don’t answer rude questions here, either. Thos comments go straight to spam, with an e-mail from me explaining why. Who cares how belligerent or offensive they are? They are there as neutral, not as participants or advocates. Their hostility influences the audience, and is intended too. Are you serious? A lawyer before a jury can be belligerent and offensive regarding the opposition; if the judge is to just one side, the case may be overturned.

      What’s your greatest weakness was an unethical “gotcha” question, meaning, “Tell us why you shouldn’t be President,” if answered honestly. As such, it was a test of how quick the candidates would be in finding ways NOT to answer. Terrible, unprofessional question as the first one, in a job interview or a debate.

  11. Jack,
    No, it’s a stupid question because it’s akin to asking someone to smell themselves and report on the odor. It’s also a question that’s been asked of almost every president in recent memory. Admitting weakness doesn’t invalidate someone for office and any candidate who thinks so doesn’t deserve to hold office; and any voter that would consider it a dealbreaker deserves either Hillary or Trump.

    I don’t understand why everything is a conspiracy with you or part of a larger trend. Reporters aren’t unethical because they’re biased, they’re unethical because they pander to their audiences. It’s not the media; it’s the general public. Whatever the “American voter” may believe. it’s the American consumer who largely decides what makes it to air, and your average yuppie has a liberal bent. Whether this owes to socialization or indoctrination, I’ll leave to people with bigger axes than mine to decide.

    We’re talking about the man who Barry Goldwater once characterized as the most dishonest man he’d ever met. A man who made G. Gordon Liddy his second in command. A man, under whose leadership, who oversaw a period plagued by the largest number of domestic terrorist attacks in U.S. history, all despite the fact that the FBI (during his presidency) saw some of the worst abuses to Cointelpro (I would love to see Jeb Bush try and defend that record if it had been his brother). A man who was a homophobe (or at least paid lip-service to the ideology). A man preached ideas of modesty and family values and yet cursed like a sailor, engaged in anti-semitic nonsense, and had no qualms about openly lying to his colleagues and the American public. I could go on and on. I’m sorry, but that kind of thinking is simply backward, and however excusable it was in 1970, it’s indefensible today. And Watergate.

    -Neil

    “You know what happened to the Romans? The last six Roman emperors were fags.” – Richard Milhous Nixon

    • You sound like you have lost it. Take a pill, get a room. This is seriously deranged. Nixon made LIDDY second in command? When? Haldeman was always Nixon’s right hand man.

      NO candidates have ever been asked to denigrate their own character FIRST. That’s called a material difference. No Democrats will be asked that question, and it is exactly as I stated it.

      All statistics, all measures, all anecdotal evidence, all studies, political contribution, the tracking of the stories reported, literally everything, makes it clear that the news media is dangerously dominated by democrats/liberals/progressives. Facts aren’t conspiracies, and objecting and opposing a distorting factor in the system that also violates professional ethics is responsible and essential, That you fail to see any of this I can only describe as sad.

      • Jack,
        Take a pill and get a room mean different things. I’m supposed to calm down and then make sexual passes at myself?

        Regarding Nixon:
        – I quoted Barry Golwater so, if anyone lost it, he did.
        – I misspoke about G, Gordon Liddy, but the man was nonetheless nuts and was someone Nixon thought was perfect for espionage (which he was, but what does that say about the kinds of people he surrounded himself with)
        – Haldeman was a mailbox (you’re not hip enough to get that reference)
        – He did oversee the largest period of domestic terrorism in US history (some 1,500 bombings between 1970-1972)
        – He did approve of cointelpro.
        – He did preach modesty and DID curse like a sailor.
        – He did make anti-semitic comments.
        – Where did I go completely off the rails?

        In other news:
        “That you fail to see any of this I can only describe as sad.” (there should be a comma separating “this” and “I,” since we’re nit-picking).

        Whether you meant it or not, this came off as condescending and akin to “grow up,” which you so much hate. It also ignores what I said. The media is biased because the viewing public is biased. News is entertainment (it should be, but it is) and they cater to those who pay their ad revenue. Those who pay their ad revenue fall in the 18-30 consumer bracket. Those who fall into the 18-30 largely tend to be left of center.

        The media isn’t leading the charge into liberalism, they’re picking up the rear.

        -Neil

        • You know, if you are going to play elitist games and correct someone else’s forgivable and understandable punctuation errors, you may need to ensure your own piece is error free. It isn’t. I count about a dozen errors of your own — the best of which is actually in the bit you try to correct Jack’s mistake.

          • It’s not elitist; I don’t give a shit about grammatical errors. I said afterward that it was in answer to him being nit-picky. Why are you suddenly engaging me again? I’ve asked you politely not to. Please, talk to Jack (or anyone else) ABOUT me I do something to upset you.

            This has nothing to do with your politics, your choice of educational institutions, or anything other than you’re someone I want to have anything to do with. This will be my last word on said subject.

            Go in peace.

            Sincerely,
            Neil

      • “…literally everything, makes it clear that the news media is dangerously dominated by democrats/liberals/progressives.”

        That’s not as self-evident to me as it is to you, but let’s not go down that rathole.

        Instead, let me raise an honest rhetorical question: Was there ever a time (say, post Civil War) when the press was predominantly right of center? In other words, is this liberal dominance uniquely of our time, or has it been that way for a long time?

        • You know the answer. Yes, especially in the early 20th Century well past WWI, journalists tilted conservative, pretty balanced through the 50s, and progressively more left-tilted from Vietnam on. But mass media on a grand scale didn’t exist until TV, and campaigns were not mostly handled via media until the late sixties. So its apples and oranges.

          There has never been an imbalance like this, or as brazen a one with so much influence and power. You can’t compare Hearst to what we have today.

          • The issue got me interested. I’ve bought Partisan Journalism: A History of Media Bias in the United States, by Jim Kuypers, a professor of communication at Virginia Tech. Looks like a pretty good book.

            Here’s the Amazon description:

            “The book begins with an overview of newspapers during Colonial times, explaining how those papers openly operated in an expressly partisan way; he then moves through the Jacksonian era’s expansion of both the press and its partisan nature. After detailing the role of the press during the War Between the States, Kuypers demonstrates that it was the telegraph, not professional sentiment, that kicked off the movement toward objective news reporting. The conflict between partisanship and professionalization/objectivity continued through the muckraking years and through World War II, with newspapers in the 1950s often being objective in their reporting even as their editorials leaned to the right. This changed rapidly in the 1960s when newspaper editorials shifted from right to left, and progressive advocacy began to slowly erode objective content. Kuypers follows this trend through the early 1980s, and then turns his attention to demonstrating how new communication technologies have changed the very nature of news writing and delivery. In the final chapters covering the Bush and Obama presidencies, he traces the growth of the progressive and partisan nature of the mainstream news, while at the same time explores the rapid rise of alternative news sources, some partisan, some objective, that are challenging the dominance of the mainstream press.

            This book steps beyond a simple charge-counter-charge of political bias in the news in that it offers an argument that the press in America, except for a brief period, was essentially partisan from its inception and has returned with a vengeance to its original roots. The final argument presented in the book is that this new development may actually be healthy for American Democracy.
            ———-
            He pretty much appears to agree with you, Jack, that empirical analyses of the press show an increasingly leftward bias since the 60s, and especially in the last two decades. Interestingly he suggests that partisan bias has been not a bug but a feature; and that competition among media may swing the pendulum back to objective journalism.

            We’ll see, I guess.

            • I’m sure it’s a feature too, but its a feature that violates the profession’s own ethical standards, so it can’t ever be tolerated.

              It might lead back to ethical journalism. However, even in that best case scenario, the period before it occurs is going to be very bad for democracy.

                • The interesting thing is that since 1960, the only the last Presidential election outcome could have been affected by media bias, and even that’s speculative. Romney was hardly a great candidate, Obama is sui generis, an incumbent has an edge. Even though 2008 was the worst slant I’ve ever seen, nothing could have saved McCain.

                  So the last election either shows that the media is finally tipping elections and the influence is getting stronger, or it’s an anomaly. If I were the RNC, though, I’d operate under the assumption that it was the former.

    • “And Watergate.” Ah yes, the original -gate!

      You remind me of a tale my great-uncle told. He was a die-hard Republican in York Nebraska, and York County party chairman. In 1950, he attended a party fete in Omaha for one Richard M. Nixon, who had just defeated Helen Gahagan Douglas (“pink down to her underwear”) for the US Senate seat from California.

      My uncle said, “I saw him at one point standing off to the side by himself, looking kind of uncomfortable, so I figgered I’d go over and make small talk to put him at ease. I said, ‘Congratulations Mr. Nixon – who knows, maybe someday the White House.'”

      “And he turns on me, all snarling-like, and says, ‘Premature – premature!'”

      And while my great-uncle continued to pull the Republican lever in every election, he did make one exception. “I could just never vote for that man in my life. He was just a selfish, bad man.”

    • “No Democrats will be asked that question, and it is exactly as I stated it.”

      Hillary Clinton has been asked that question more than once. Bill Clinton was asked it. Jimmy Carter was asked as well. Are they not Democrats, or were you speaking generally? It’s asked in job interviews; it’s asked in college applications; it’s asked in self-evaluation surveys. It’s got to be one of the most blase-mean nothing questions out there. It’s not biased; it’s dumb.

      • First question out of the box. You understand what material means, right? Yes? After a candidate has been able to list strengths, and explain them, then the question is asked. (It’s still a terrible debate question, a passable interview question.) As the first question before an audience, it is a demand for a candidate to begin by attacking oneself. There is no way to answer that question honesty and directly not look bad. I already wrote here: I GOT that question as the beginning of an interview, and told the interviewer it was inappropriate and why. He was just an hack manager. These are professionals. They know what they are doing.

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