Wingnut Talking Point Bingo

by Henry Farrell on April 17, 2008

So I’m about 50 minutes into the ABC Pennsylvania debate, and it’s like its being run by some crazed syndicate of Newsmax, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh – stupid talking point question after stupid talking point question, and so far not even a hint of interest in e.g. actual policy debates . All I need is for the moderators to ask _either_ the ‘So, Barack Hussein Osama, do you want to tell the American people about what you REALLY learned in the madrassa,’ or ‘Hillary Clinton, many Americans are concerned that you are secretly a lesbian? What do you have to say to them?’ question and I score the full house. I mean, what the fuck?



P O'Neill 04.17.08 at 1:47 am

The wingers already had Bingo from Maureen Dowd’s column today. This is what the next 7 months is going to be like.


Matt 04.17.08 at 1:49 am

I wish I could say I was surprised but after the idiotic way that many people, even some pretty smart ones, responded to the “bitter” statement I can say that I’m close to giving up hope for reasoned discourse for the campaign. It does help support my belief that following the “news” coverage (like the coverage of the “bitter” “scandal”!) makes one _more_ stupid than before and so basically should not be done. This is more so with TV than other forms, but blogs are often not too far behind.


Kieran Healy 04.17.08 at 2:24 am

Did Obama really get asked whether he loved the American flag? Jaysus.


Chris Dornan 04.17.08 at 2:26 am

It’s unanimous.


JP Stormcrow 04.17.08 at 2:31 am

1: Yeah what a twofer, to have Barack be lectured by Maureen Down and George Will on his elitism. Fucking, fucking, fuckety, fuck. And then these fucking idiots keep it going in the debate. Baubles and gewgaws to distract the masses.

3: Did Obama really get asked whether he loved the American flag?

I think even worse, he was asked whether he thought Rev. Wright “loved America”. Fucking fuckers.


seth edenbaum 04.17.08 at 3:07 am

[aeiou] Dowd:

The elitism that Americans dislike is not about family money or connections — J.F.K. and W. never would have been elected without them. In the screwball movie genre that started during the last Depression, there was a great tradition of the millionaire who was cool enough to relate to the common man — like Cary Grant’s C.K. Dexter Haven in “The Philadelphia Story.”
What turns off voters is the detached egghead quality that they tend to equate with a wimpiness, wordiness and a lack of action — the same quality that got the professorial and superior Adlai Stevenson mocked by critics as Adelaide. The new attack line for Obama rivals is that he’s gone from J.F.K. to Dukakis. (Just as Dukakis chatted about Belgian endive, Obama chatted about Whole Foods arugula in Iowa.)

She just about hit the nail on the head. I suppose you could mock her for saying the obvious, but obviously it’s not obvious to a lot of people.
If the democrats can’t lead, then they don’t deserve to. And intellectuals who don’t understand leadership and bemoan the vulgarity of the masses. The best don’t lack conviction, they just prefer self-pity. So I guess you’d prefer logic like this

I myself see a close link between democracy as a dogma and the idea that everyone’s opinion is as good as anyone else’s: that is, between equality in respect of voting power and forms of relativism about truth. For if people’s opinions do not have equal value, how can we justify giving their votes equal power? ”

Which is to say that bullshit and democracy are natural partners, born of the need to have an opinion when not in possession of the necessary knowledge.

Frankly, I prefer Democracy and Dowd to Philosopher Kings and Colin McGinn. Here’s more

I had in mind experts of many different types, not all specialists in a particular field. Following Plato, I envisage people trained in all subjects relevant to politics–history, geography, philosophy, psychology, etc. These would be the “philosopher kings” (though not our narrow sense of “philosophy”). They could have advisors in a specific field, if necessary, but they would be broadly educated. These experts would work with some democraticlly elected leaders to make policy–but not merely in an advisory capacity.

I’m so sick of all you enlightened motherfuckers. You’re the mirror image of the barbarians you bitch about: no less, and and contrary to your intricate rationalizations, no more.


Henry 04.17.08 at 3:15 am

Seth – you are hereby permanently banned from commenting on my posts.


bend 04.17.08 at 3:52 am

I just got back from the debate and I can assure, it was even more appalling in person. Afterwards we all let out a collective sigh of disbelief and ran for the nearest shower. I still feel filthy and I’m two scotches in.


Fats Durston 04.17.08 at 3:56 am

Yes, the man who called B. Khomeini Obama an elitist wrote this “sentence”:

Before his intervention — often laconic in manner, always passionate in purpose — in the plodding political arguments within the flaccid liberal consensus of the post-World War II intelligentsia, conservatism’s face was that of another Yale man, Robert Taft, somewhat dour, often sour, three-piece suits, wire-rim glasses.


Donald A. Coffin 04.17.08 at 4:42 am

Based on what I saw and heard, and on the comments I’ve read about what I missed, I sure wish this had happened:

Sen. Clinton: I have a question for Sen. Obama. Senator, I’ve reached the conclusion that the questions we’re being asked tonight will do little to help voters reach a decision in the Pennsylvania primary, or in the general election. I wondered how you felt.

Se. Obama: Senator, I completely agree. I believe that we are doing a dis-service to the American people by continuing to deal with the questions we are being asked. What I would propose is that we leave, find a quiet place to have a conversation about the real issues facing the American people, and invite to join us any members of the press who wish to accompany us.

Sen. Clinton: Perfect. And let’s ask one of the camera operators to join us as well.

Sens. Clinton and Obama: Good-night, panel, and no thank you for your questions.

In my dreams, I’m afraid.


nick s 04.17.08 at 4:54 am

In my dreams, too.

This is why I wanted Gore to run again, because one element of his campaign would, by necessity, have been telling the pompous idiots of American broadcasting to fuck right off, to their faces, on national television.

Afterwards we all let out a collective sigh of disbelief and ran for the nearest shower.

Were the chairs bolted down to prevent you from throwing them at Gibson and Stephanopoulos?


magistra 04.17.08 at 6:22 am

I just heard a short report on UK Radio 4. Someone asked Obama: ‘Do you believe in the American flag?’

I just longed for him to say: ‘Well, I’ve personally observed it repeatedly, so yes, I do.’


Ben Alpers 04.17.08 at 7:26 am

Nonetheless, the Clinton campaign sees this as a victory and is defending the debate as a very serious and thoughtful exercise. A quick survey of the internets suggests that many of her online supporters are willing to go along with this assessment.

I find that amazing. Anybody who thinks that either of these candidates, let alone the Democratic Party, was well served by that mess should have his or her head examined.


bad Jim 04.17.08 at 9:06 am

It looks like I was better off listening to eighth blackbird and watching a recording of the Met’s Gianni Schicchi. Bless Tivo. Note that Schicchi thinks his scam, in favor of his daughter, is worth his damnation (according to Dante). Dads are like that.

Ugh. There are times when a reality check fails. A cursory check of the blogs tells me this was a disaster, I should have been paying attention, that this, perhaps the last of the debates among Democrats, was not to be missed. Sorry. I think I had a better time missing it.

«Strange imaginary animals» kept my aged mother attentive from start to end. Eighth blackbird got Grammies for it. Try it, you’ll like it. Even the cat didn’t mind.


Steve LaBonne 04.17.08 at 10:36 am

Bad Jim, no, no, no, I assure you, you should NOT have been paying attention. Lucky you for doing something else. I will never get those two hideously desecrated hours of my life back.


Steve LaBonne 04.17.08 at 11:10 am

Nonetheless, the Clinton campaign sees this as a victory and is defending the debate as a very serious and thoughtful exercise. A quick survey of the internets suggests that many of her online supporters are willing to go along with this assessment.

True to form, she and they are delusional. Three post-debate online polls (ABC, CBS, Drudge) showed surprisingly lopsided support for Obama as the “winner” of this fiasco. In reality I think Hillary “accomplished” two things: 1, she drove her negatives even higher; and 2, she fatally undermined her excuse for staying in the race by conceding that of course Obama can beat McCain. Bye Hillary, it’s been nice knowing ya. (Well, not really.)


Barry 04.17.08 at 11:56 am

Why in the name of God do Democratic politicians allow themselves to be ‘interviewed’ in this fashion by their enemies? How many liberals were moderating the GOP debates?


rea 04.17.08 at 12:25 pm

What I don’t understand is this: since the 70’s, the Republicans have been tremendously successful in clobbering the news media. Meanwhile, the Democrats put up with this stuff. Why doesn’t it occur to Democratic candidates to get righteously indignant over being asked such nonsense? It would probably poll very well . . .


newshutz 04.17.08 at 12:38 pm

How can their be a substantive debate on the issues, when there are practically no difference on the issues?

A whole debate on whether universal heath care should be mandated or just available would be just as worthless.

Why in the name of God do Democratic politicians allow themselves to be ‘interviewed’ in this fashion by their enemies? How many liberals were moderating the GOP debates?

You really need to get out more. All of the questioners were liberals. Most of the Republican debates were moderated by liberals.


christian h. 04.17.08 at 12:47 pm

JP, take a deep breath. Clearly, the media are hell-bent on getting McCain elected, but I personally think he’s going to die of old age before November.


Barry 04.17.08 at 12:48 pm

abb1, your answer only makes sense if it’s beyond the power of the Democratic elite leadership to appear on TV except by leave of the wingnuts.

I second rea – the GOP works the media very well; considering how badly they f*ck things up, extremely well.


Gene O'Grady 04.17.08 at 1:40 pm

I’m sure it’s very germane to note that Gianni Schicchi is actually trying to help his granddaughter. Which is a better way to go to hell than the debate moderators chose.


ScentOfViolets 04.17.08 at 1:55 pm

And again for the 144,000 time, one of the first things Clinton/Obama should do after being sworn in is ram through some modern version of the Fairness Doctrine. They should also get seriously medieval on ‘The Media’- one theory I’m partial to is that part of the Republican stranglehold on the centers they don’t own outright is their complete willingness to punish those they see as transgressors.

Yes, I know, there’s 1,001 things the new administration should do first. But this is a sort of meta-issue. On any subject from health care reform to the occupation of Iraq to raising taxes to pay for maintenance and upgrades on basic infrastructure, there will always be ‘the media’ to contend with. Clobber them first, while the honeymoon’s still on. Go for the public airwaves, then the various cable franchises after the broadcast media are brought back to some semblance of sanity – they won’t care to lose yet another advantage to their competitors.


Steve LaBonne 04.17.08 at 2:08 pm

If Obama wasn’t thinking about that before I’ll bet he after that travesty. But he’s smart enough not to talk about it until he’s in office.


Ginger Yellow 04.17.08 at 2:26 pm

A fairness doctrine would do nothing to solve the obsession with trivia and horse race journalism at the expense of policy and people’s real concerns. Only the media and their readers can do anything about that.


christian h. 04.17.08 at 2:36 pm

We don’t need a fairness doctrine. The problem is absolutely not the right-wing media, but rather the establishment outlets.

There can’t be a “fairness doctrine” for the news pages – that simply makes no sense.

And there’s as many self-declared liberals on the op-ed pages as there are conservatives. Only the “liberals” spend their time gossiping (Dowd and Collins), obsessing about Clinton penis (Rich), generally blaming leftists/feminists/ other liberals for all kinds of evils (Kristof). While the conservatives hammer the opposition. No doctrine is going to fix that.

More importantly, today’s celebrity journalists simply don’t share the concerns of the common people – they are rich, members of the elite.


JP Stormcrow 04.17.08 at 3:22 pm

they are rich, members of the elite

Who play “regular” people (or ink-stained wretches) on TV, or in the pages of their newspapers.

… And no christian, no I am not going to take a depp breath, I’m going to hold my breath and whine and curse in blog comments all the way to the election, because that’s sure to fix it.



lemuel pitkin 04.17.08 at 3:24 pm

So we’ve got an international crowd here — how’s this stuff compare internationally? Can we identify countries with more and less subtantive (and balanced, if that means anything) election coverage? Does it make a difference?


ScentOfViolets 04.17.08 at 3:37 pm

A fairness doctrine would do nothing to solve the obsession with trivia and horse race journalism at the expense of policy and people’s real concerns. Only the media and their readers can do anything about that.

Ever notice how that ‘trivia’ is mostly negative, and mostly directed against . . . Democrats? If you want to have parity, let’s have some ‘trivia’ discussions about McCain. Let’s talk about his multiple affairs before leaving a sick wife. Let’s talk about marriage being a ‘sacred trust’. Let’s talk about ‘anger issues’. Or McCain the flip-flopper.

Oh. We don’t hear about that sort of ‘trivia’ in the MSM. The kind that might reflect negatively on Republicans.


marilyn 04.17.08 at 3:42 pm

Hillary was definitely on her game!! However,Senator Obama was blindsided by attacks from Charlie and George!! Obvious who they were going after but, bottom line: the moderators should be ashamed. And, to allow (or perhaps set this up) someone to ask if Sen. Obama is patriotic because of no lapel pin!! Where was Hillary ‘s pin. Please get fair and balanced


christian h. 04.17.08 at 3:45 pm

I hate to say this, JP, but I think you are correct. Whining at least makes this stuff more bearable…

As for lemuel’s question, the coverage of German election campaigns in Germany at least used to be (when I still lived there and followed in closely) more policy-oriented, I think to a large degree because of the parliamentary system.

I hesitate to say it is or was better – not only is the usual (neo)liberal spin put on everything (and in a much more obvious way as German media don’t have the “wall” between news and commentary), it’s also often the case that political news are treated a bit like local news in the US. Only instead of the “four-alarm blaze on 63rd and Damen” it’s the latest “terror attack” or whatever.


Stuart 04.17.08 at 3:50 pm

Surely that is partly due to the Democrat race being ‘live’ at this point, and McCain only comes in later. When the Republican race was still on, I was seeing plenty of embarassing facts about Republicans popping up, although I generally don’t directly engage with the US mainstream media, but plenty of places on the internet tend to reflect the same trends.

This might even be a good thing – it is well established that voters have very short memories, so blowing loads of ‘ammo’ against McCain while there is nothing for him to win or lose in the immediate future would seem of limited use. Of course Obama has to be careful that some of Clintons attacks against him don’t become unquestioned ‘common knowledge’ that cripples his eventual campaign against McCain, but equally the drawn out Democratic race also gives him the opportunity to become a much bigger and well known political entity, which certainly could aid him in the final analysis if he takes advantage of all the publicity and interest it has been garnering over recent months.


nick s 04.17.08 at 3:52 pm

Can we identify countries with more and less subtantive (and balanced, if that means anything) election coverage? Does it make a difference?

I took an outsider’s view of the Australian election, and that seemed to throw up some of the same day-to-day silliness as British general elections, but because it’s conducted over a similarly short timeframe, there’s generally a higher degree of seriousness.

(The Sarko-Ségo debate co-hosted by TF1/France2 was pretty damn substantial too.)

The only place where I’d suggest election coverage is as problematic is Italy, and that’s because Berlusconi owns everything that’s not RAI.

As ginger yellow says, a Fairness Doctrine doesn’t address a media elite that, by covering the horserace 24/7 for months and months, is bored with substance and embraces trivialities. Telling the moderators that their questions are bullshit does that. Except that Clinton’s narrow path to the nomination now requires an avalanche of bullshit to block Obama’s way.


newshutz 04.17.08 at 3:56 pm

“today’s celebrity journalists simply don’t share the concerns of the common people”

Obama was close to identify their concerns, but way wrong on the reasons. If he really understood, he would not be so condescending.

The “common” people are concerned about preserving their religion and culture, which they perceive to be under attack.

There are reasons for the popularity of a numskull like O’Reilly. At least he correctly identifies the common peoples’ concerns and the things they feel threatened by.


Ginger Yellow 04.17.08 at 3:59 pm

Lemuel, it’s hard to break down how much is cultural and how much is due to the nature of the US electoral system. The primaries and the absurdly long campaign season lend themselves to narrative and horse race journaliam, partly because it’s easier and partly because you can always have some new angle. If your campaign lasts a few months at most as it does in most European countries, then there’s less time for a narrative to build up and skew the reporting.

That said, I do think the US media does particularly badly, even given the framework. The debates are a perfect example, with almost no discussion of policy and lots of gotcha questions designed to make the moderator look tough but without actually revealing anything. Furthermore, the self-image of the US press as balanced/objective serves to reinforce a single narrative, whereas the politically polarised press in Europe offers conflicting pictures of the various parties/candidates. None of this is to say that the European press is perfect, but I think it’s safe to say that campaign coverage is far superior this side of the pond (maybe not in Italy).


lemuel pitkin 04.17.08 at 4:12 pm

the self-image of the US press as balanced/objective serves to reinforce a single narrative, whereas the politically polarised press in Europe offers conflicting pictures of the various parties/candidates.

Right, I suspect this is a big part of it. Which means something like a revived Fairness Doctrine is more likely to make things worse, than better.


Tyro 04.17.08 at 4:16 pm

Someone explain to me why we shouldn’t simply “give up” on the race for national office. Seriously, if it’s a contest entirely driven by mouthpieces of right-wing talking points, it doesn’t strike me that there’s any reason to get involved.

I’m exaggerating a bit– for the most part, I think the people who wrote the questions for the debate are WAY out of touch with public sentiment and the results come November will be quite a shock… but still, if the game is rigged in this way, is there really much of a point?


Righteous Bubba 04.17.08 at 4:50 pm

Having a two-party system is awfully convenient for those media folks who subscribe to either/or.


lemuel pitkin 04.17.08 at 4:59 pm

Someone explain to me why we shouldn’t simply “give up” on the race for national office.

Presumably because we believe there are (1) significant differences between the major-party candidates and (2) a non-zero impact on the likely outcome from our collective involvement (for whatever value of “our” corresponds to the we of the question). Multiply the values under (1) and (2) and you have the worthiness of involvement in presidential politics, as compared with other forms of political activity.

I doubt at this point we’ll have much debate on (1); as for (2), it depends where you’re situated but there’s no question it’s positive for lots of plausible values of “we”.

I think giving up on *campaign coverage* might be a good idea, tho. If you’re going to expend your scarce energy on presidential politics, spend it volunteering for or donating to a campaign, influencing organizations you’re involved with to make an endorsement, helping organize local events, taking a leave of absence from your job in the month or two befoire the election to do campaign work fulltime, and persuading your friends/family/colleagues to do all the above.

The “public” portion of the campaign — debates, media coverage, blogs, etc. — is, obviously, the msot visible, but is probably the least valuable in terms of the likely impact of our incremental contribution.


christian h. 04.17.08 at 5:15 pm

Personally, I’m not expending energy on presidential politics – it’s, imo, the most wasteful way to be active if the goal is actual policy changes, including a change in the system itself (as whatever I do will be totally buried under what the candidates’ billions do).

That’s my main disagreement with Nader people – they are wasting their energy on self-cooptation. (Honestly, if someone asked me to come up with the worst way to build a movement for revolutionary change, I’d advise them to go for a third party presidential campaign.)

However, I’m of course hoping that whatever energy I spend on issue campaigns will effect the election outcome in a certain way. This makes it all the more important for all of us – Democrats or radical – to be relentless in pushing coverage of actual issues.


Tyro 04.17.08 at 5:17 pm

lemuel, I’ve no dispute about (1), but I have to consider the possibility that the macro-effects involved when it comes to the media and public dialog will swamp any contributions of (2).

I believe pretty firmly that the fundamentals of the race favor the Democrats. However, if the public dialog is immovable, I can certainly see how interactions much greater than ourselves may come to dominate.

I guess, as a point of encouragement, it is worth considering that the most hostile the media could ever be– towards Gore — still did not prevent him from winning the popular vote. But still, makes me wonder if they’re simply more determined to “get it right” this time around. I certainly have no other explanation for the debate last night.


Dan Kervick 04.17.08 at 5:24 pm

More importantly, today’s celebrity journalists simply don’t share the concerns of the common people.

Precisely. Questions about job loss and unemployment, mortgage defaults, massive health insurance co-pays, soaring food prices, soaring gas prices … well that stuff is just so very boring to people like Charlie Gibson, who don’t have to worry about any of it. Hence the interest in the much more entertaining and much less interesting symbolic issues. Or else, maybe he’s thinking “Damn, if we put these dangerous negroes in charge, they are going to dip deeper into my capital gains to alleviate the misery of the lower 99% in this country.”

My wife and I just had our best year ever according to our tax return. But we feel substantially worse off, because we’re now spending a fortune on food and gas. And a whole bunch of people are way worse off than us.


Markup 04.17.08 at 5:30 pm

[fade in] Smokey back room at Breton Bay Lodge & Escort, a small group of donkey eared folk are lounging in overstuffed, red leather Manhattan chairs, are discussing how not to lose the Presidential election 2+ years hence.

Folk1: What we need is a slogan to rally the people around; something that doesn’t reinforce their bitterness, but none the less recognizes it.

Folk2: Hey, got some loose change? Kristen gets tired of the paper cuts from bills … something makes me think she likes the tingle of a cold coin…

Folk4: That’s it, “Change”…. it will…

Folk3: Geeze, I hope you can do better than that.

Folk7: Hope and change… hope and change, but what we have to do is somehow keep direct contact between the two candidates to a minimum; I think we’re going to need a shill to stand in as long as possible to keep eyes on our team as much as possible.

Folk5: Fantastic. The press will go all Family Feud. All we need is the right one. Who will draw the crowds in yet divide at the same time… needs a name already though, one the Gopers will be sure to sink their teeth in.

Folk4: Wonderful, while they’re all watching the out for the pea under shell, we’ll be out in the parking lot lifting the cars so to speak…


[flash forward…]


c.l. ball 04.17.08 at 6:18 pm

Gibson and Stephanopoulos should be ashamed of themselves. Virtually are their questions were stupid — no, goddamn fuck’n stupid.

But the candidates don’t seem to really care. Imagine if the universities sponsored debates — the venue, the cameras, and the questioners (a mix of faculty, staff, townspeople and students who would hash out a set of questions in advance or a real debate with two moderators to start things off and ask a few follow-up questions) and provided the feed to networks and the internet.

Why doesn’t this happen? Because the candidates like the format that exists now. The stupid questions became the way the “moderators” knock the candidates off their banal messages, and in Gibson’s case, make him blather on.


rea 04.17.08 at 7:20 pm

Someone explain to me why we shouldn’t simply “give up” on the race for national office.

There are some people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Cuba who could answer your question . . . those who aren’t dead.


Steve LaBonne 04.17.08 at 7:32 pm

Ultimately though I do think the progressive blogosphere mantra of “more and better Democrats” [in Congress] matters even more than Presidential races. A Congress with a spine would have stopped the war long since, and maybe even prevented it in the first place.


Markup 04.17.08 at 8:57 pm

#46 That’s $pine to you, sir, and they do have a few; in many denominations so as to be more ‘inclusive’….


Uncle Kvetch 04.17.08 at 9:21 pm

Someone explain to me why we shouldn’t simply “give up” on the race for national office.

I’ve asked myself the same thing, Tyro. Best answer? The Supreme Court. I’ve given up on Iraq (and foreign/military policy more generally), health care, and real campaign reform, and I have very little optimism about climate change. But the one thing I can say with certainty is that Obama’s or Clinton’s SCOTUS nominees would look nothing like McCain’s. As a gay man, that has a very direct and immediate impact on my life.

There are a hell of a lot of absolutely crucial issues where it really doesn’t matter anymore. Don’t let that obscure those crucial issues where it still does.


Grand Moff Texan 04.17.08 at 10:05 pm

Does the rev. Wright love America as much as me?

I dunno, ABC. For that, we’ll need a dozen virgins, a volcano, two cardamom pods, a geigercounter, and a tub of vaseline.

OK, George: bend over!


Uncle Kvetch 04.17.08 at 10:11 pm

‘m s sck f ll y nlghtnd mthrfckrs.

Thanks, Henry. You’ve made it fun to read Seth Edenbaum’s comments again.


Crystal 04.17.08 at 10:34 pm

@47: Who can forget the big-wig Dem donors threatening to whack Nancy Pelosi’s kneecaps if she didn’t toe their line?

Alas, the Dems do have a $pine in place of a spine. It appears to me that one of the best things that can be done for the US political system is to get big donors and special interests out of politics. I wish that could happen. I also wish I could have gone to Hogwarts and learned to be an Animagus.

Realistically, Steve @46 is right – more and better Democrats in Congress is a great place to at least start. The internet and blogosphere really do seem to be helping that along – if for no other reason than it makes people feel like their votes and voice matter on some level.


Markup 04.18.08 at 1:23 am

”more and better Democrats in Congress is a great place to at least start.”

No doubt, and a few more good ones on the other side would be nice too. I don’t give a rat’s dropping what party they are in the aquisition and abuse of power, like your wannbe majic powers, are learned. The is much to be said of big Gov being the/a problem, just like those of both parties have a strong (learned ?) disposition to abuse their privilege when getting in the high chair – no, not all, but enough to keep the game from really moving. Sorry you missed the train, perhaps in a few decades we’ll have a meaningful system of mass transit… fueled by some Harkin for change ethanol of course.


LC 04.18.08 at 4:30 am

I was opposed to the abolition of the Fairness Doctrine when it occurred under Reagan. That said, I agree that trying to revive it is basically a waste of time. It was vaguely worded, never that effective, and its largest positive impacts probably had to do with broadcast coverage of local issues, not national (or global). The language in the federal Communications Act saying that broadcasters have to serve “the public interest, convenience, and necessity” has not meant very much for a long time — and that trend predates the abolition of the Fairness Doctrine.


abb1 04.18.08 at 7:29 am

‘Fairness’ is meaningless now because most of the wingnut dogmas (and their perverse logic) is the common wisdom these days.

And that includes the liberals, of course. “‘m s sck f ll y nlghtnd mthrfckrs” is a bit too strong to my taste, but it’s easy to understand how one might feel that way.


JP Stormcrow 04.18.08 at 1:23 pm

This thread is over, but (via TPM) this McClatchy article on the voter who asked the “flag” question is worth a read. (She had previously been quoted in a NYTimes article.)


LC 04.18.08 at 1:33 pm

re 54: i have no idea what “m s sck f ll y” means. i assume it is something that can’t be spelled out in polite company.


abb1 04.18.08 at 1:48 pm

Looks to me like devoweled “I’m sick of all you”.


Markup 04.18.08 at 2:07 pm

”This thread is over, but (via TPM) this McClatchy article on the voter who asked the “flag” question is worth a read.”

Seems she’s bitter about being left out in the list of being bitter and clinging to G_d and guns. Quite the tough life she’s had, and understandably similar to Hilary’s struggles…


Jim Johnson 04.18.08 at 3:26 pm

I agree with Henry’ WTF. And I found Don’s (#10) fictional universe intriguing. In our real universe, though, there are the folks over at Michelle Malkin (and, I am sure, many other elsewheres)who thought the behavior of the panel was just swell. Of course the press are idiots. That is depressing enough. But many, many people seem to thin that is just fine. That is REALLY depressing!


Jim Johnson 04.18.08 at 3:31 pm

Pardon the bad Ricky Ricardo impersonation; should’ve been “seem to think”


LC 04.19.08 at 4:20 am

abb1 @ 57: thanks for the translation.


Roy Belmont 04.19.08 at 6:51 am

It’s pretty naive to think a political gamesman like Stephanopolous would turn into a little bag of corn syrup on his own dime, just because it felt good.
We’re viewing close at hand the manipulative strength of the most powerful and sophisticated, and organized, whatever that ever was.
Pretending still, after all the evidence that’s available, that Iraq and the last two elections were some kind of massive incompetence on the part of people who should know better is probably comforting to those who can still do it, but it’s whack.
This was an intentional move, to create a desired climate of soft absurdity around the candidates in the minds of the mass audience.

“…we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out.”

Remember those guys? They’re still there.

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