Tag Archives: conflict

Idiot Nation, Idiot Press

The Daily Kos goes after Politico for the way that it handled Palin’s claim over the health care plan:

Seriously? Seriously?

Yes, seriously. It falls to Politico to take a story about a national figure making up wholesale a crooked and ridiculous story about how Democratic “Death Panels” are coming after her disabled child if we dare reform healthcare, and turn it into an absolutely straight news story.Well done, Politico. Absolutely masterful. I couldnt come up with a more embarrassing example of the national political media as lazy, stupid, worse-than-useless prop if I tried.

As the Daily Kos points out it should not be too much to ask for an institution like Politico to point out how blatantly ignorant and idiotic Palin’s statement is. Instead of doing so though they simply quote her and lend a ounce of credibility to her claim.

Sullivan: “The Revolution Will Be Twittered”

One of the smartest things I’ve read today about the growing disturbance in Iran comes from Andrew Sullivan who writes:

That a new information technology could be improvised for this purpose so swiftly is a sign of the times. It reveals in Iran what the Obama campaign revealed in the United States. You cannot stop people any longer. You cannot control them any longer. They can bypass your established media; they can broadcast to one another; they can organize as never before.

Not only can people now bypass the established media and broadcast to one another I think that they have proven that they will and that when they do so they will do it with force.

Furthermore, I think that events like this go to show that the fascination with Twitter is more than just about Twitter, it’s more importantly about the medium of communication that it provides for. Perhaps Twitter provides the best current experience for this, but I think that the demand for such a form of communication will only grow as more people realize the power of organizing themselves.

Dowd, gender, and a horrible Guardian article

With the recent news that Maureen Dowd of the New York Times plagiarized Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo there have understandably been a slew of article about the topic. Unfortunately, a columnist at the usually stellar Guardian writes this:

Dowd, with her valley-girl accent, was always going to stand out from that pool, and the fact that she is one of the few women swimming in it is her least attention-grabbing quality. [emphasis added]

What may I ask is the point of that emphasized portion? Does Dowd’s gender and status as one of the few truly high profile national columnists really have anything to do with the fact that she 1) apparently plagiarized a well-known blogger and 2) made a pretty flimsy excuse as to how it happened?

No, it doesn’t and because of the irrelevancy of Dowd’s gender a serious columnists at a major media outlet should not try and draw a connection where none exists. This seems to be a shameless way to attempt to stoke even more controversy into an already controversial subject.

The reality is that this issue has not risen to controversial popularity because of some twisted national gender bias. Dowd is not under the microscope because she is a woman. Instead, this is an issue because it shows that some national columnists (irrespective of gender) believe that they can get away with anything, including treating bloggers and those outside the halls of midtown Manhattan like crap.

Shame on you Guardian for bringing gender controversy into a issue that is devoid of gender! Sorry, end rant.

Finally, honest journalism

I’m sure that Jon Stewart’s interview with Jim Cramer has been written about elsewhere, but I wanted to share my own thoughts on the matter. If you haven’t seen the video, then you really need to so it’s embedded below:


First and foremost, all the credit in the world ought to go to Jim Cramer for actually having the courage to walk into the firestorm that he knew would be waiting on The Daily Show. Secondly, Jon Stewart is simply great. With the election of Obama I remember there being some concern about whether Stewart would be able to maintain his high rating and popularity. After all, if he can’t make fun of Bush then how much material does he really have? Well, perhaps the election of Obama has created a bit of a shift in the Daily Show’s content.

As Stewart says in the interview, he shouldn’t have to be the one responsible for asking these kinds of questions and publicizing these facts. Despite the fact that it’s depressing that it is a comedy show that is taking this hard stance on questions of journalism, it is refreshing to see someone actually sit someone down and truly question them. Furthermore, it appears that people will actually listen to this kind of interview too. The audience was entertained in the way that Stewart tore Cramer apart and also seemed to be actually interested in the information both men were talking about.

It’s time for reporters, media, and the general populous to stop making the excuse that people don’t want to listen to or read hard journalism. It’s clear that they do, it just has to be done in the right way. Perhaps if more media institutions actually created content like this then they wouldn’t have as many problems attracting an audience.

U.S. and North Korea

One of the things that frustrates me most about the United States and it’s foreign policy (under Clinton, Bush, and now Obama) is the ridiculous hypocrisy that’s pervasive. This comes from an article on the BBC:

Referring to speculation Pyongyang was preparing to test-fire a long-range missile, Mrs Clinton said the US viewed any such tests as provocative.

“We don’t comment on intelligence matters but it is clear that under the United Nations that under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718, North Korea is required to suspend all activities related to its ballistic programme.

I’m tired of us and other Western powers getting away with missile tests and nuclear stockpiles and yet somehow expecting other countries to do what we say and not what we do. This was the kind of diplomatic hypocrisy that I was hoping Obama would end.

Link via BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Clinton urges N Korean dialogue.

Removing the filibuster

In an article the The Atlantic Matthew Yglesias writes that:

Democrats no doubt see that more clearly today. Since 2006, when they won majorities in both the House and the Senate, their approval ratings have plummeted, in large part because moderates and liberals have noticed their inability to get much of anything done. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tried to blame “the obstructionism of the Republicans,” but realistically, one can hardly blame Senate Republicans for obstructing legislation they oppose. The fault lies not with the obstructionists, but with the procedural rule that facilitates obstruction. In short, with the filibuster—a dubious tradition that encourages senators to act as spoilers rather than legislators, and that has locked the political system into semipermanent paralysis by ensuring that important decisions are endlessly deferred. It should be done away with.

In short, I agree with him here. Congressional leaders accomplish far too little during their years in office and I think that removing any incentive for them to delay legislation and become even more unproductive ought to be removed. In addition, we as a populous need to be more demanding of our congressmen (and women) and hold them accountable for not accomplishing anything.

Read the original Yglesias article (which is very good, and short for an Atlantic piece) here.

Foucault and Punishment

In “Discipline and Punish” he writes:

It was as if the punishment was thought to equal, if not exceed, in savagery the crime itself, to accustom the spectators to a ferocity from which one wished to divert them, to show them the frequency of crime, to make the executioner resemble a criminal, judges murderers, to reverse roles at the last moment, to make the tortured criminal an object of pity or admiration.

Just found that interesting in light of all of these discussion concerning the closing of Guantanamo Bay and the United States’ role in extradition and torture.