Category: The Media

My How Times Have Changed! Or Is It the Media That Has Changed?

By , March 4, 2016 12:28 pm

I’m interested in what you think about the differences between the debates in these two videos, one from 1960 in West Virginia, the other from Detroit just last night. Not in the content so much–that is the policy proposals–but in the quality and type of questions the media poses.

Humphrey-Kennedy Primary Debate in West Virginia – 1960

 

Republican Primary Debate in Detroit, Michigan – 2016

 

My view? The media plays at least as large a part in creating these disasters we call debates nowadays as the candidates–more, much more, in my opinion. Fox, CNN, NBC. Doesn’t make a difference. Chris Wallace’s opening question, for example, is not worthy of a debate that will help decide who we might choose a president. (I won’t comment, for now, on the difference in the quality and type of questions in the Democratic debates, other than to say, there is a difference.)

The Roman Colosseum-like crowds? Don’t get me started.

Hillary Clinton vs. William Safire

By , February 12, 2016 2:13 pm

Safire wins!

Sorry, this outburst was prompted by this morning’s Diane Rhem Show, where Diane and three reporters discussed the race between Hillary and Bernie. In taking about why Hillary wasn’t gaining traction among voters generally and women voters in FILE: William Safire, Speechwriter of President Nixon Dead At 79...WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 27: (FILE PHOTO) Columnist of the New York Times, William Safire, gestures as he attends a roundtable discussion on NBC's 'Meet the Press' during a taping at the NBC studios February 27, 2005 in Washington, DC. It was reported that William Safire, a speechwriter for U.S. President Richard M. Nixon and a Pulitzer Prize-winning political columnist for The New York Times died at a hospice at the age of 79 on September 27, 2009 in Rockville, Maryland. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)particular, the three reports avoided the obvious–though one listener made them face the same fact that led William Safire to speak his mind on the matter of Hillary.

What an election.

Trump Tweets Trump Fans Won’t Re-Tweet

By , January 31, 2016 8:48 pm

This one, by Tom Nichols, for example.

The Facts Versus The Meme

By , October 4, 2015 9:41 pm

I’ve read more than once, in reaction to the recent tragedy in Oregon, that we need to regulate guns. Of course, we do regulate guns–at the federal and at the state level. If you’re interested, here’s the most recent version of the ATF Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide, all 233 pages of laws, regulations, Q&A’s explaining the morass of laws, and more. A full 9 1/2 pages of just the Gun Control Act of 1968 is devoted to Section 922: “Unlawful Acts.” The phrase “It shall be unlawful” is used 22 times in that section, usually leading off long lists of unlawful acts. And that’s just one act. The Guide also contains the National Firearms Act, the Arms Export Control Act, and a section of the law governing the Postal Service as well as four different “Parts” of the Code of Federal Regulations.

And that’s just Federal Law. Each state and many cities have their own laws, many of which are much more restrictive than the Federal Law, which essentially sets the minimum standards. For example, the assault weapons ban is no longer on the federal books. But don’t tell that to California or Connecticut. The NRA provides a handy guide of state law if you’re interested.

Finally, none of this takes into account the fact that it’s crime punishable by imprisonment and even death to kill someone with a firearm. Use a firearm in the commission of a crime, and generally the punishment for the underlying crime is enhanced. Etc. etc. etc.

Could more be done? More laws? More regulations? Reasonable minds differ–and they’re not all on the anti-gun crowd.

And Now for the Rest of the Story

By , October 21, 2014 10:12 am

So I was on Facebook this morning, and I read the following headline:

Report: 21 US cities restrict sharing food with homeless people

Among other cities, the article mentioned Salt Lake City, home to the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Can’t have that in a city so famously religious now, can we?

Turns out we don’t have that, or if we do, it’s not because the city is heartless towards the poor. No, can’t be that because, as one poster noted, Salt Lake City is a model for San Francisco on homeless solutions.

The lesson? Well, at least one of the lessons is that there is almost always another side to a story.

Cross posted at GregoryTaggart.com

Another Dissembling Headline

By , September 11, 2014 7:54 am

Why do they do this? Is the headline tease, the need for readership so important that many in the media stoop to misrepresenting the essential truth of a story. This story for example, from Detroit’s Fox News 2. Here’s a screen capture of the headline:

2014-09-11_Uniform Not Allowed

If you stop at the headline, you’re pissed. Another zero-tolerance policy from a brain dead school administration? you wonder. What’s this country coming to?

And then you read the story. It wasn’t the school, it was a security guard with a firm contracted by the school to handle security. And what did the school administration do when it found out what had happened?

Rochester Schools superintendent Robert Shaner, who is a veteran himself, quickly took care of the situation apologizing to the family for their troubles.

Shaner sent a letter to Fox 2 which says: ‘The district has apologized for any perception that individuals in uniform are not welcome in the school. The district does not have a policy excluding individuals in uniform and will be working with administration and the firm that handles our security to make sure district policies are understood and communicated accurately.’ (Emphasis supplied)

So why is this a story in the first place? You can guess what I think is the reason by looking at the category tags below.

Cross posted to GregoryTaggart.com

The More Things Change . . .

By , July 16, 2014 11:23 am

This:
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Pampering Illegal Aliens
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Reminds me of this:
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Charges of Pampering Japanese
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Cross posted to GregoryTaggart.com

The Art of Denial

By , June 4, 2014 4:44 pm

When the shoe is on the other foot and fits so well . . . you get comedy.

Cross posted from PartialPosts.com

Why I Post What I Post

By , March 3, 2014 1:17 pm

In light of my recent posts on Arizona SB1062, the bill that Gov. Brewer vetoed the other day, I feel I need to be clear: I don’t hate gays or lesbians. I am not a homophobe. As the saying goes, I have friends (and relatives) who are gay or lesbian. I wish them well and, for the most part*, support them in their quest for equal rights. My religion challenges me to love all people. I try to do that. Most of the time I succeed.

No, my posts—and posts like them on other subjects—come from a deep-seated belief in the value of religious liberty and from an ongoing frustration with those on the left who label my side, the conservative/religious side, “haters,” “deniers,” “misogynists,” “fascists,” “homophobes,” and “racists,” among other things. I know in my heart that I’m none of those things, and I’m confident that all or the vast majority of the conservatives/religious people I know are not. Thus, I’ve made up my mind to push back whenever I see those on the other side of an argument cavalierly throw around such evil epithets posing as reasoned argument.

I want to stress the word “cavalierly.” I am not a Pollyanna. I realize there are people–people on both sides of the aisle–who are, in fact, haters, deniers, misogynists, fascists, homophobes, and racists. When they act out on those traits, they should be called out. That said, it seems that the best way to do that is on a case-by-case basis rather than to label an entire groups of people unfairly and, generally, for political purposes.

That is all.

*I support traditional marriage, again not out of any animus towards the LBGT community but out of a belief in the nature and purpose of marriage that I won’t go into here. I do support civil unions.

Cross posted to GregoryTaggart.com.

Court or Steamroller? When Rights Conflict

By , March 1, 2014 4:27 pm

I don’t care which side you are (were) on in the recent outcry over Arizona’s SB1062, but I assume you are interested in the facts of what the bill did and did not do. From what I’ve read, the bill was badly misrepresented. And in the process, its proponents were labeled haters and homophobes, while Jon Stewart called the bill repugnant–even though SB1062 did not even mention same-sex marriage or homosexuality and even though it essentially copied laws that are already on the federal books and on the books of 18 states.

In fact, the proposed law would have come into play if, say, the government attempted to force a small business to provide birth control. It would have applied to a government’s attempt to compel a business to pay for abortion services for its employees. If you can think of a case where the government–state or federal–might impose a burden on someone’s sincere religious belief, the proposed law would apply. Yes, it could have come into play had a baker refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.

But the bill WOULD NOT have decided the case. The bakery would still have to pass GO. The owner would still have to demonstrate that he or she was acting out of a sincere religious belief. The same-sex couple would still be able to argue that the baker’s belief was less than sincere and did not justify refusing them service. And a court would ultimately have to decide between the two parties—based on the rules set out in the proposed law. In other words, the bill did not create an exception, so religious people could discriminate willy nilly. It simply sets the standards by which a court would adjudicate such a case.

Don’t believe me? Here, for your reading pleasure, is the best description of the proposed law I’ve read. It’s written by 11 prominent law professors, some of them Republicans, some Democrats; some of them support same-sex marriage, some don’t. Nine of them felt that Gov. Brewer should have signed the bill. Two were unsure. Among the 11 are Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard and Michael McConnell of Stanford, two of the brightest lights in the legal academy.

You can read what they wrote at the link–without any filtering by the press or Comedy Central or by me. The following are three key paragraphs:

SB1062 would amend the Arizona RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] to address two ambiguities that have been the subject of litigation under other RFRAs. It would provide that people are covered when state or local government requires them to violate their religion in the conduct of their business, and it would provide that people are covered when sued by a private citizen invoking state or local law to demand that they violate their religion.

But nothing in the amendment would say who wins in either of these cases. The person invoking RFRA would still have to prove that he had a sincere religious belief and that state or local government was imposing a substantial burden on his exercise of that religious belief. And the government, or the person on the other side of the lawsuit, could still show that compliance with the law was necessary to serve a compelling government interest. As a business gets bigger and more impersonal, courts will become more skeptical about claims of substantial burden on the owner’s exercise of religion. And as a business gets bigger, the government’s claim of compelling interest will become stronger. (Emphasis supplied)

A few paragraphs later, the 11 law professors summarize the bill’s impact as follows:

So, to be clear: SB1062 does not say that businesses can discriminate for religious reasons. It says that business people can assert a claim or defense under RFRA, in any kind of case (discrimination cases are not even mentioned, although they would be included), that they have the burden of proving a substantial burden on a sincere religious practice, that the government or the person suing them has the burden of proof on compelling government interest, and that the state courts in Arizona make the final decision. (Emphasis supplied)

Did you catch that? Those who are refused service by a business can still sue. Those who are sued can assert the defense of sincere religious practice. And the courts get to sort it out–just like they would have done prior to the bill becoming law. The only difference is that the evidentiary rules governing that courtroom exercise would be codified.

And that’s repugnant? My eye.

Cross posted to GregoryTaggart.com.

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