Friday, November 29, 2002
SETTING A BAD EXAMPLE: Scouring as many editorial pages as we do every morning, it's almost a given that you will come across at least one or two really awful examples of liberal goo. Today I submit the following:

First, this piece from Professor Robert Moore who challenges the notion that academia is a bastion of liberalism. Instead, Moore argues that "it is outside the walls of academia, not within them, that ideas are unfairly suppressed." Moore's primary example of such bias? Fasten your seatbelts:

"Before I went to college, I was led to believe that China's Chairman Mao Zedong and Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh were evil geniuses who forced communism onto helpless and unwilling populations. But, in college, I learned that Mao and Ho were regarded as heroes and national liberators by most of their countrymen, who enthusiastically embraced their leadership."

Let's not forget Hitler. He was elected and beloved by the German people, so therefore it's best not make any pesky moral judgments about The Third Reich and The Final Solution. Moore's right about one thing: these days you're free to advance just about any opinion or thesis in college, no matter how inane, without worrying about critical evaluation.

Not to be outdone, the Philadelphia Inquirer somehow deemed this article by Jenna Catherine fit to print. You'll probably need to read the following quote at least twice - perhaps more - to even begin to understand how ridiculous it is:

"We have a consensus that Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are evil. And it's clear to me that all of the thoughts that this is so are making them more evil, whether they (or we) realize it or not. It's also likely that all of the cursing of the United States is having a similar effect, making us, yes, evil, perhaps more evil."

Got it? The United States is becoming more evil because of the negative thoughts, hatred and curses delivered to us courtesy of Islamic fundamentalists. World peace is a state of mind, achievable through more love, understanding and compassion for those who are trying to annihilate us. It's all so simple. Maybe Jenna should head over to Yemen, Indonesia, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, or any of a dozen other countries home to Islamic terrorists, get herself fitted for a burqa and test her little love-can-change-the-world theory in person before we call off the whole War on Terror.

MORE LOUISIANA: Here are a couple of headlines from recent days regarding the Louisiana Senate race that, taken together at face value, suggest Landrieu is in the fight of her life:

"Another Pollster Says Senate Race Still Too Close to Call"
"Blacks Not Solidly Behind Democrat Candidate"

THANKSGIVING: Sorry no posting yesterday, too busy traveling and eating to do much else. I was nagged all day by thoughts of the attacks in Kenya, not only by sadness for those who died and anger toward the terrorists, but also by anger toward those who want to continue to try and rationalize or otherwise justify tolerating such evil.

With each attack it should become more and more clear to the world that there is no "root cause"at work here. No amount of money or negotiation or pleading or wishful thinking is going to cause these Islamic fundamentalists to change course. The sooner everyone accepts this reality, the sooner we can get on to solving the problem with steely-eyed determination.

This war is not about guilt, oppression, conquest or religious domination. It's not about oil, money, or imperialism. It's a defensive war taken up in the cause of freedom, human rights and self-determination for all people. It's not complicated, nor is it something we should be ashamed of. Just the opposite.

This is all a very long-winded way of saying that yesterday I was thankful for health and love of my wife, son, and family. I was thankful that we live in America and that our country has been spared - at least for the last 14 months - another attack. My only hope is that a year from now I can be thankful for all of the same things. - TB 3:09 pm

Wednesday November 27, 2002
LA POLLS: Two polls out yesterday with conflicting info. Good recap on the data in the Shreveport Times. Both polls were taken last week, one showing Landrieu with a 16-point lead (50%-34%), one showing Terrell with a 4-point lead (46%-42%). We seriously doubt Landrieu is leading this race by anything more than a few points - if at all. It's going to be close, it's going to come down to turnout, and it may come down to a visit by President Bush. This sounds sort of familiar. Read our comments here and the latest news stories on the contest here.

RIGHT-WING BIAS: There's a peculiar notion among liberals these days that the media in America is absolutely saturated with right-wing bias. Paul Krugman wrote on November 8:

"Democrats should complain as loudly about the real conservative bias of the media as the Republicans complain about its entirely mythical liberal bias"

Less than two weeks later, on November 20, Tom Daschle launched his ridiculous assault on Rush Limbaugh.

And in today's NY Observer, we have Al Gore promoting the paranoid conspiracy theory that Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the Washington Times all are mouthpieces for the RNC:

"Something will start at the Republican National Committee, inside the building, and it will explode the next day on the right-wing talk-show network and on Fox News and in the newspapers that play this game, The Washington Times and the others. And then they’ll create a little echo chamber, and pretty soon they’ll start baiting the mainstream media for allegedly ignoring the story they’ve pushed into the zeitgeist. And then pretty soon the mainstream media goes out and disingenuously takes a so-called objective sampling, and lo and behold, these R.N.C. talking points are woven into the fabric of the zeitgeist."

Yes indeed, Gore wishes we could return to the good 'ol days when three network news programs - headed by liberal anchors like Walter Cronkite - and a few major metro papers controlled the flow of information in America.

This is certainly one of those never ending arguments that depends entirely upon where you sit on the political spectrum. If you're conservative, you look at the major networks and CNN as liberal and Fox News as a more objective news source. If you're left-leaning, CNN is perfectly balanced for you and Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are where the right-wing wackos go to get their news. Fine.

But the reason Fox News is now the top rated cable channel and Rush Limbaugh currently has 20 million listeners has more to do with economics than politics. Three weeks ago 53% of the country voted Republican and America has been more or less evenly divided for the better part of two decades. Even if you took moderates and independents out of the equation, you are still left with a huge segment of the population that has essentially been left "unserved" for years with respect to having an outlet for a more conservative perspective on news and politics. These immutable laws of supply and demand shouldn't surprise anyone, least of all a Princeton economics professor. - TB 8:55 am

Tuesday November 26, 2002
LOUISIANA SENATE: Read our comments here and the latest news stories on the contest here.

FITZGERALD: Senator Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois is easily the most vulnerable Republican in 2004. He's a conservative in a state that went for Gore by 12 points in 2000 and where Democrats just swept every statewide office this year except Treasurer. The Dems are rightfully licking their chops over the prospect of winning this seat and a host of candidates are already testing the waters. Lynn Sweet gives the lowdown in her Sun-Times column yesterday. The article raises two important questions: 1) Can Illinois (and America) stomach a Carol Mosley-Braun comeback? and 2) Will Fitzgerald's perceived weakness induce a serious primary challenge? For those scoring at home the answers are "no" and "maybe."

One more note: I almost fell out of my chair when I saw my Congresswoman, Jan Schakowsky, mentioned as possible candidate. To try and put this in context for those who don't follow Illinois politics closely, Schakowsky rates about a 9.5 on the Jim McDermott Congressional Insanity Meter but still wins the 9th district by about 40 points every two years. The fact that the idea of running for the Senate even crossed her mind is an indication of just how liberal Illinois has become in the last decade.

BELAFONTE: Another tidbit from the Sun-Times yesterday: Laura Washington's morally bankrupt effort at rehabilitating Harry Belafonte. Mixed in with all of the heavy-breathing over Belafonte's physical appearance Washington says that while African-Americans may admire Secretary of State Powell they should also "challenge" him. This, of course, obscures the fact that Belafonte's outburst wasn't a challenge to Powell's policies but a vicious ad hominem attack designed to humiliate and denigrate him. Washington concludes:

"I would have chosen different words, but I'm glad Belafonte said them. At least they forced attention and debate on Bush's warmongering and its corrupt rationale. Powell has tried to work through the United Nations, as he should. But true heroes do not engage in unprovoked wars that will kill innocents. Unless Powell plans to resign before the missiles drop, that's where we're headed. And if Powell can't speak out against injustice, whether in Durban or Iraq, why have him speak at all?"

The last sentence pretty much sums it up for Belafonte and Washington: if you don't agree with our view of the world you should just stay silent - especially if you're black. God forbid Belafonte or Washington should actually have to argue the merits of the case against the "corrupt rationale" for disarming Saddam Hussein. - TB 9:15 am

Monday, November 25, 2002
MORE TRIBUNE: This article provides a little supporting evidence on the Chicago Trib's left-leaning bias. When your assistant managing editor for photography runs a picture of the President of the United States on the front page that is only published by newspapers in the Nigeria, Dubai and Canada, I think it's safe to say you have a bit of an issue. And here's the response of Don Wycliff, Tribune columnist and ombudsman:

"Try as I may to read "that picture" as Parker did, my gut tells me it amounted to a Page 1 editorial in which George W. Bush was being labeled an idiot and a clown, unsuited to the presidency. There may be a place for that in the newspaper, but it's not Page 1."

Right. The place for ridiculing the President as an "idiot and a clown" is the Tribune's editorial page. I guess we should at least give Don credit for chastising the paper for using the photo. It's not much, but it's something.

WAPO SHOT ACROSS THE BOW: Sometimes the media can be soooo predictable. Today we have a page one story from Jim VandeHei at the Washington Post warning the GOP against pushing a conservative social agenda that might include the radical step of banning partial-birth abortions - something a majority of the country agrees with.

Most political observers - including some conservatives - generally agree with the idea that it wouldn't be a smart strategy for the GOP to"overreach" and use control of Congress to ram through sweeping legislation on taxes or social issues. But you don't have to be a social conservative to find the tone and the language of VandeHei's article objectionable.

It starts with this loaded lede:

"With Democrats no longer blocking their way in the Senate, President Bush and Republican congressional leaders plan a more vigorous push on their social policy agenda"

VandeHei uses a a number of quotes to bolster his "Christian-right prepared to run wild" story line, goes out of his way to identify President Bush as "born again" and then slips this twisted noose around Senator Rick Santorum's neck:

"Santorum has told the White House that, during the debate over welfare reform, he will fight for a provision to allow religious groups to discriminate against certain people -- gays, for instance -- when hiring if they don't share their religious beliefs. "I will make that stand," Santorum said."

In reality, the provision Santorum refers to is one to prevent the government from forcing relgious-based charities to hire people who don't share their beliefs. Muslim organizations don't have to hire Jews, and soup kitchens run by synogogues don't have to hire militants from the Nation of Islam. Now, you can debate whether this represents government endorsed discrimination, but for VandeHei to select as his one possible example that it would be Christians discriminating against gays is a blatant attempt to demonize. But it fits nicely with his storyline and that's all VandeHei cares about. -TB 9:13 am



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