Pew Research Center
Institute for People Democracy and the Internet
Pictures from the JAMPACT Christmas Treat December 22, at Crescent Road School in Downtown Kingston
>> Political Peeve of the week
>> New Yorker and Slate staff Endorse Kerry: On the Blog
>> Conversations with Conservatives: Candid interviews with leaders from the right
>> A controversy at the Cleveland Plain Dealer reminds us why media ownership matters right now
>> Ohio debates "Issue One"
>> And now for something completely different: Wolfpacks for Truth!
>> Kerry wins prophetic kids poll: It's Kerry 57, Bush 43!
>> Reporting Reality: and Facing up to Bush's war on Fact-based Public Debate
>> Crossfire Confrontation: Jon Stewart steps up
>> Proud Mary: Andrew Sullivan & Dave Cullen nail the Marygate Hypocrisy
>> My thoughts on Marygate: Our Complicity is the Real Shame
I'm Peeving Out about Chancellor Merkel: Women, World Leaders, and the Political Glass Ceiling
Before any blue staters starting blaming red state fundamentalism, however, I have to say that no, we can not simply blame America's religiosity for this. Consider that Ireland, a highly, some would say infamously, religious country no doubt, has had not one but TWO female heads of state, including the current one. What's more, so have two predominantly muslim countries-- Pakistan, and Turkey; and one Hindu country too -- India.
Update, Sunday Nov 27: TV Talkers the McGlaughlin Group debated this very point today. When asked about the likelihood that a woman would be elected President of the United States by 2050 - 11 elections from now - panelist estimates varied from a dismissive 1 in 10, almost no chance, to the token liberal's optimistic 9 or so. Pat Buchanan and Tony Blakely didn't feel there were enough qualified female candidates available to make it happen at this juncture-even given another 45 years!
Just Chilling? The Post Election Cultural Twilight Zone
A recent Frank Rich column documents a trend towards self censorship that seems to be infecting American culture post-election. In several instances, according to Rich, public media are shying away from commercials for products that they deem to be too sexual. Chapel Hill's own WUNC is one of the culprits:
Dissenting Voices: After the electon, The Real Media War
Maureen Dowd, Lawrence O'Donnell, Jon Stewart, and Eric Alterman. These members of the media have become more candid and creative in their dissent against the Bush presidency since the election. Click here for a few choice highlights thus far.
Anyone reading her columns this week knows Maureen Dowd is pulling no punches right now. She's been venting freely, attacking and ridiculing all sides - from Kerry and Shrum to Rove, Bush and the entire Christian right - since election day and subtlety is not on her agenda. Today though, Dowd did something even more outrageous than that. She outed Hardball Chris Matthews as batting for the liberal/Democratic side of the cultural and electoral divide.
Just one of many media stars going off the rails in the wake of the election.
Peter G. Peterson
Editors Versus Owners at the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
As if we needed another example, Cleveland steps up and reminds us why media ownership matters. Because bureau chiefs can be fired (as at Sinclair); editorial decisions can be overturned (as at CPD); stories can and do get rewritten or squashed every day (as at Fox News). Because journalists are paid help--working stiffs with mortgages to pay and careers to worry about. It matters because ultimately ownership trumps editorial power every time.
Witness the latest media controversy brewing in one of the most populous and strategically important areas in the ultimate battleground state of Ohio:
Postscript: So now after a deluge of negative feedback, the CPD is delaying the endorsement, till later in the week, possible closer to the weekend? And the election is next Tuesday. That should be useful.
Whereas Sinclair's overreaching power grab was an comical embarrasment to reasonable capitalists and conservatives everywhere, this fight over the Cleveland Plain Dealer's delayed presidential endorsement exposes a more commonplace and insidious reason that media ownership matters. It illustrates that power (owners) will flex its muscle whenever it chooses, and can usually do so with much less fanfare and consequence than in this election. Normally, these maneuvers usually take place behind the scenes, invisible to the public. Consolidation only multiplies the impact. There is no question; media ownership is a democratic issue. Read more about it.
Issue 1: "A Bad Marriage"
Time the Cleveland Plain Dealer is on the right side, if for
the wrong reasons:
the campaign could hardly get any uglier, so now it gets creative
The Real Story on George Bush's "Wolves" Commercial
The New Republic chooses fact over fiction: Endorses John Kerry for President
"You cannot lead the world without listening to it. You cannot make the Middle East more democratic while making it more anti-American. You cannot make the United States more secure while using security as a partisan weapon. And you cannot demand accountable government abroad while undermining it at home.
And so a president who promised to make America safer by making the Muslim world more free has failed on both counts. This magazine has had its differences with John Kerry during his career and during this campaign. But he would be a far better president than George W. Bush. " Read the Editorial
So This is what it's come to? Eric Alterman on Hunting for votes in Ohio
Just one example of why I'm now quite certain that Eric Alterman* is a media god, like Jon Stewart with a PhD:
*Brooklyn College English Professor & author, The Book on Bush, What Liberal Media?
Out of the mouth of babes, it's Kerry in a landslide in The Nickelodeon Kids Presidential poll!
CNN reports: "The kids have spoken, and it's Sen. John Kerry with a convincing victory over President Bush on Nov. 2. An unusual opinion poll that has correctly predicted the winner of the last four presidential elections has given Democratic challenger Kerry 57 percent against 43 percent for Bush, according to results released Wednesday."
So, does this poll count in terms of having predictive ability? According to the president of Nickelodeon, "The 'Kids' Vote' seems to work as a good barometer of the actual presidential vote because, developmentally, kids between the ages of two and 11 share the same opinions and outlooks as their parents..." Read More
Ron Suskind, who exposed the ruthless internal operations of Team Bush, tells Salon that many Republicans, too, are frightened by the White House's "kill-or-be-killed desire to undermine public debate based on fact."
"It is one devil of a challenge. One man's conversation with God guides the globe and human affairs. How exactly do you frame that inside the secular writ of informed consent based on facts? I think those who are forcefully running the White House electoral machine -- and the soul of this machine is an extraordinary operation -- understand this with great alacrity."
What grade would give the mainstream press in covering Bush?
"Oh, God. Let me just say that I think we have the most skillful and most energetic press corps on the planet. What they've had to wrestle with is a very evolved and eloquent operation to undercut what they do. Without giving them a letter grade, I think that everybody in the fourth estate realizes that the White House has won most victories, especially after 9/11, when they then had that to use as part of their tool kit...."
You seem to have luck with Republican sources, and specifically with those from Bush's faith-based community and his advisors. Do you think they're among the most disillusioned?
"Absolutely. They're among the most disillusioned because it comes from a direct, personal experience with the president of the United States.
So they thought there was a connection with Bush. They thought there would be a follow-through, that he meant what he said during the 2000 campaign?
They thought a whole variety of things, and then they saw what "is" is. And some of them were troubled by it, and some of them have been, frankly, frightened by it. These are Republicans who in significant numbers have been coming to my office. One of the jokes is that my office is now the government in exile for Republicans. They come because they're concerned -- not as members of a political party but as American citizens. That's what they say over and over. And they take not insubstantial risks to come." Read the interview.
And he's not going to take it any more.* Jon Stewart's exchange on Friday with CNN Crossfire hosts Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson could fairly be described as an intellectual, moral, and political pundit smackdown. Actually, these words don't do justice to Jon Stewart's brutal but accurate critique. You must see it to believe it. Although I think the extended rant is a little odd in its one-sided relentlessness and hostility, Stewart delivers an important indictment of what passes for political communication today. View the video
From Charles Taylor, on Slate.com:
(Friday 10/15/04) "I think you're a lot more fun on your show,' said Tucker Carlson to 'Crossfire' guest Jon Stewart this afternoon. 'And I think you're as much of a dick on your show as on any other,' Stewart shot back. It wasn't the faux avuncularity we've come to expect from Stewart on 'The Daily Show' but there, of course, he's playing a role. Here he was himself -- and he wasn't buying any of it. "
*Apologies to Paddy Chayefsky for the blatant appropriation, but Stewart's righteous (and well-deserved) tirade echoes fictional television anchor Howard Beale's in Network. Unlike Beale's disparate litany of societal woes, however, Stewart's is laserlike in focus. It's the pundits and spin doctors, stupid. Check out the original speech.
"Let's get one thing straight. It is not an insult to call a proudly public lesbian a lesbian. It's an insult to gasp when someone calls her a lesbian. That's how all the gays I have spoken to the past 24 hours perceived the press response. You're embarrassed for us. And it's infuriating."
"The most outlandish exchange I've seen came in a scholarly Fox News debate Thursday -- seriously, it happens -- over the candidates' linguistic styles, of all things. The conservative guy, Eric Dezenhall, charged that "the invocation of Vice President Cheney's daughter's lesbianism was sort of a radioactive concept. The words lesbian in a presidential debate -- even if you don't mean it to be mean -- came across as off the grid, and very, very shrill."
Is he serious? If it's innocent little gay people you think you're protecting here, listen up! Gay people do not consider the invocation of our existence radioactive. It's the comparisons to plutonium that drive us nuts. We are not toxic."
"If Mary Cheney is distraught this morning, it's likely her mother is the cause. And it's perplexing to millions of gay Americans today why the press has not grasped how horrible she acted toward Mary Wednesday night.
Maybe it's understandable. Most of you out there have never been a homo. Let me share a personal story to illustrate how this works for a gay person. I came out to my parents when I was in my 30s -- they were shocked, then understanding, but also a little queasy about it. The queasiness was much less about them accepting me as it was their friends accepting them.
That's the part that stings. No matter how old you get."
"I doubt very much that Mary Cheney gives a rat's ass if some church lady in Idaho knows she's gay. But her mother cringing at the church lady knowing -- that's gotta hurt like hell." Read the column.
Andrew Sullivan can be counted on to be honest and fearless in his criticism of partisan b.s. on both sides of the aisle. Here’s what he had to say about the overblown Mary Cheney controversy in the New Republic this week:
her privacy violated? Of course not. She is an openly gay person. She
once had a job at Coors specifically designed for gay and lesbian outreach.
She was once a member of the Republican Unity Coalition, a now disbanded
group seeking gay inclusion in the GOP. Her lesbianism is a matter of
public record. More important, she is critical in running the campaign
of the vice president. How much more public could she possibly be? She
cannot hold down a public campaign job as an open lesbian and then cry
foul when this is brought up."
“The truth is that Kerry and Edwards have absolutely nothing to apologize for. And an apology would only legitimize the anti-gay prejudice that permeates the premises of an argument like Safire's. After all, if Kerry congratulated the president on the conduct and charm of his straight daughters--as he did in the first debate--no one would accuse him of being out of line, of invading someone's "privacy." And yet by congratulating the vice president on the conduct and dignity of his gay daughter, he is somehow beyond the pale of decency. It only makes sense if you believe that lesbianism is something to hide, be ashamed of, or cover up. Obviously that's Safire's view. But he should be explicit about that and defend it, rather than relying on it as a premise for his case."
It's clear that the uproar is the real outrage. No, I’m not at all upset that Kerry mentioned Mary Cheney’s sexuality in the third debate. But I am ashamed that I’m complicit in the lie that Kerry repeats whenever asked about gay marriage, that a little discrimination against gays is o.k. I know better (and, let’s be honest, he does too). Read More ...
Site last updated: March 24, 2006 3:22 AM