2010/12/17

Jon Stewart is outraged


And he's got every right to be. The usually mild-mannered comedian puts the funny stuff aside so that he can talk about the fact that 9/11 first responders are being denied a bill that will give them medical care. Republicans are filibustering the bill because, well, they're just filibustering everything because Rush Limbaugh told them all two years ago I Hope Obama Fails,” so like obedient little drones, they've striven to obey. Here's the link to The Daily Show. As of midnight, the December 16th show isn't posted yet.

The true outrage here though, is not just that Republicans are filibustering what should be a no-brainer, unanimous “good thing” that everybody should agree on without hesitation, the true outrage is that hardly anyone is covering this vote! Media Matters agreed with Stewart on the night of the 13th, that 

On the night of the 9/11 first responder bill vote, neither ABC, CBS, nor NBC mentioned the story on the evening news. Cable news channels seemed equally uninterested. 

And again, Stewart pointed out tonight, that all of the major news stations demonstrated a complete lack of interest in the vote. Well actually, one TV station did cover the vote with a full 22-minute report, Al Jazeera! Yup, the first responders have had their plight documented by the station that also featured Usama bin Laden. But the US major networks can't bring themselves to mention that Republicans are making complete hash of their supposed reputation for supporting the heroes of 9/11. As Stewart pointed out, Fox News has absolutely zero problems cranking up the outrage when they want to. Why haven't they wanted to in this case? Seems pretty obvious to me that, first and foremost, they're a Republican station. 

What explains the rest of the media? Why is everybody else so quiet about such a no-brainer issue? The problem with the media, I think, goes to the love that journalists these days have for balance. Personally, I think the Fox News slogan “Fair and Balanced” is fine as far as fairness goes. Fairness is always good, is always appropriate and should just be a habit for journalists to engage in. Balance? Eh, not so much. Not much point in balancing the science of evolution with the religious beliefs of Intelligent Design / Creationism / Biblical Literalism because that stuff simply isn't science. But to present a one-sided issue, where the Republican Party is solely and exclusively to blame, journalist would have to sacrifice their beloved balance and to say “One side is to blame.” That, I believe, is something journalists simply don't want to do. In an attempt to be fair to both sides, networks are shortchanging the viewers by refusing to let them in on a serious story.

Update: Here are the videos.

Further update:
The utter moral degeneracy of the opponents of the 9/11 First Responders bill just absolutely astonishes me. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) complained bitterly about Democrats trying to set a time limit for debating "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
"To have a time agreement after all of the fooling around that we've been doing on [the] Dream Act, on New York City ... we will not have a time agreement from this side," he insisted angrily.
Oh, and it turns out that it's the national Chamber of Commerce that has persuaded Republicans not to support the bill "because it's financed by closing tax loopholes for foreign businesses that do business in the United States."


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