2007/12/01

Why does the left blogosphere exist? Reasons #2,143,657 thru #2,143,659

In Media Matters, newsperson Cooper Anderson praises presidential candidate Mike Huckabee for giving a nonresponsive answer to a question that goes to the very raison d'etre (Reason for being) of his candidacy. Huckabee's justification for running is that he's a devout Christian. The question asked was how Jesus would feel about the fact that, as Governor of Arkansas, Huckabee approved quite a number of executions, a practice which is approved of in the Old Testament, but a practice that Jesus came down firmly in opposition to. Huckabee gave an answer which completely avoided this central problem.

The left blogosphere exists precisely because of events like this. Anderson praised Huckabee's non-answer. Anderson made the presumption that Huckabee is a devout Christian and that the death penalty question is just some silly complication that shouldn't prevent people from seeing Huckabee in the same fashion. But why should anybody get a free pass on questions of faith, especially when their alleged faith is so central to their presidential candidacy? Shouldn't a newsperson insist that Huckabee justify how his alleged faith is consistent with his worldly actions?

Now, one can be excessively skeptical of someone's faith. Witness the recent page one WaPo article questioning whether presidential candidate Barack Obama is "truly" a Christian or is, in fact, a Muslim. Problem with this question is that Obama has not performed any public actions or taken any public positions that one could argue are more Muslim-inspired than they are Christian-inspired. The Muslim world does not have any equivalent to the Soviet Union's Comintern (1919-1943, initiated to try and consolidate all the Communist movements and to bring down Capitalism), they are nowhere near as centralized as the Communist movements were and do not appear to have any designs on countries outside their borders. One could perhaps argue that a Muslim might oppose Israel, but the Israeli paper Haaretz has been unequivocal about that. "Obama supports Israel. Period." So even if Obama were a Muslim, it's not at all clear what that would mean. Fortunately, the WaPo has quite justifiably taken lots and lots of criticism over this article.

Another event which has also resulted in lots of criticism for the traditional media has been Time Magazine's Joe Klein (Author of Primary Colors) opining ignorantly on FISA. From immediately after publication of Klein's article on 21 Nov to 30 Nov, when The Center for Citizen Media published another piece on the controversy, lawyer and blogger Glenn Greenwald hammered away at Klein's failure to read the original bill as opposed to just listening to GOP Rep. Pete Hoekstra and rushing off to scribble his story, stopping just long enough to put in a quick "Democrats disagree" without indicating the substantive nature of the Democratic disagreement or that disagreement was not confined to Democrats. Klein's quote is:

"Unfortunately, Speaker Nancy Pelosi quashed the House Intelligence Committee's bipartisan effort and supported a Democratic bill that — Limbaugh is salivating — House Republicans believe would require the surveillance of every foreign-terrorist target's calls to be approved by the FISA court, an institution founded to protect the rights of U.S. citizens only. (Democrats dispute this interpretation.) In the lethal shorthand of political advertising, it would give terrorists the same legal protections as Americans. That is well beyond stupid."

Never identified was the "bipartisan effort" that was quashed. At no point since the original FISA bill was composed in the late 1970s have foreigners been covered under its protections. Yes Republicans could advertise that the Democratic FISA bill would "give terrorists the same legal protections as Americans," but, and this is an important point, ONLY if the Republicans were LYING!!! Was "Limbaugh...salivating"? I'm sure he was, because he knew he had a idiot like Klein covering for him. As Harper's Scott Horton points out (In a piece that's a very good summary of the whole dispute)

"Not only was the substance of this description factually inaccurate in almost every respect, it was the very core of the piece. Moreover, what Time ran was a shameless mouthing of talking points that had been circulating on Capitol Hill by Republican spinmeisters through the prior week."

Eventually, as Wired's Ryan Singel points out, Time put out two corrections, neither of which truly addressed the central fallacy, the ludicrous charge that Democrats were trying to grant new rights to foreigners.

Why does the left blogosphere exist? Because our media is broken. Because our traditional media figures are incapable of doing their jobs. Because they've lost their way and have become lazy and inattentive and search for shortcuts where they can pop off their opinions without being truly responsible for those opinions.

1 comment:

Vote For Hillary Online said...

If the list of candidates to choose from was a line of port-o-potties outside a concert, Huckabee would be the one overflowing with diarrhea.
If you want a real candidate with real values, then you want Hillary Clinton. Just trust me.

Vote For Hillary Online