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View Diary: Clarke calls Frist's bluff (163 comments)

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  •  The laziness and corruption of the press (4.00)
    "Why haven't the media noted this parallel?"

    Because it would require of them the effort of doing some background research into the story in order to determine the credibility of Frist's remarks and also to place them in a historical context.  Doing these things would require actual work.  How much easier simply to act as stenographers, faithfully parroting the statements of our public leaders.  They probably think this is "objective".  Statements from many liberal persons and groups do not get recorded thus because these persons and groups are not in government and therefore, in the logic of the mainstream media, their words must not be very important.

    I am reminded of what Greg Palast wrote in The Best Democracy Money Can Buy about his experience in trying to get the Florida voter-purging story into the news.  He called up (as I remember maybe wrongly) CBS News and told them, basically, that he had most of the story but that the CBS reporters would have to complete it by doing a little research of their own.  They called back the next day and told him the story wouldn't hold up.  Why?  Well, they called Jeb Bush's office and they denied it.  End of story.

    See also Tom Tomorrow's adventures in trying to get the New York Times to fact-check some of the claims made in Safire's and Friedman's columns.

    Is there any salvation for the mainstream press, or has the corruption advanced too far?  Is there much possibility of establishing a new medium for serious political reportage?  I don't think weblogs are it, at least not yet; I doubt that weblogs have anything like the breadth of audience that radio and TV have.

    Did you ever wonder / why we had to run for shelter / when the promise of a brave new world / unfurled beneath the clear blue sky?

    by Ernest Tomlinson on Mon Mar 29, 2004 at 02:19:29 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  media (none)
      I think another problem is that because there are so many media outlets now, this fosters ferocious competition to get the story out even a few minutes ahead of the others, hence fact-checking suffers.  We've seen absurd examples, like the Martha Stewart verdict being misreported because the reporter forgot the hand signals.  And the more serious example, Fox calling the 2000 Florida outcome prematurely, and affecting voter reaction.
      Really, how many people stand in front of six tv's and tally who got the story one minute quicker?
      •  How about (none)
        someone coming up with the "we present the rest of the story" and make a point that early reporting is usually incomplete, and better to be a little late and correct.  Seems one of the mainstream news teams could make that work, if they wanted to put in the effort.  

        Food for thought,  Bb

    •  Stenographers (none)
      How much easier simply to act as stenographers, faithfully parroting the statements of our public leaders.  They probably think this is "objective".

      Isn't that known as the Judith Bumiller defense?

      •  did you mean to do that? (none)
        Did you mean to combine Judith Miller and Elizabeth Bumiller into one person? Might as well, and it would save the Times on salary and benefits...
        •  Funny typo (none)
          Ha!  No, my undercaffeinated brain put a Bu- before Miller, but it's a funny coincidence.

          Real quick: is God on my side?

          One other thing: why do so few of the radio and TV reporters get briefed on pronunciation?  Yes, the commission head's name is "Tom Kean," but his last name is pronounced "cane."  Confusing, yes, but it's their job.

    •  Reality Reporting (none)
      I agree wholeheartly Ernest.  The internet/blog phenomena is a splash at the edge of the human wave ... building up momentum,power and unity ... longing to reach the grounded shoreline of Earth based "reality".  A reality rooted in human dignity and the possibility of our each of us growing into responsiblie wisdom containters.  Not just garbage cans for more broken , useless WalMart junk.

      We are witnessing the birth of a new form of news collection and distrubution.  We're not there yet but getting closer.  The missing ingredient ...?   Insight.  A digesting of happenings in the light of what it means for individuals within a global civilization becoming aware of themselves/itself.  An awareness not of governments,borders and corporate image/dream fabricators .. but of awake and aware human beings in search of a healthy quality of life that includes respect for our bodies and those of all living beings and a reverence for the planet/universe that nurtukres us.

       I'd love to see the news delivered and pondered upon by the likes of the Dalai Lama ... or Nelson Mandela ... or good Jungian observers of life or psyco historians ... other "wisdom holders" who embody the view that all life is sacred.  Yes ... it's time for "global group therapy".  It's time to develope a new human mission statement about who we are and what we want.  That could make a good start. A "reality show" that lets us all participate in the crafting of a new vision.

      It's coming ... I can feel it and I can read it in the words of my fellow commentators here on the blogs ... we are learning to become good villagers in the best sense that our imaginations can conjure up.  It's in our DNA ... in our blood waiting for us to behave as a responsible group of mamals.  To learn to flock, weave and swim together .. to turn and soar and dive together .. and when that happens a latent wisdom inherent within us will surface and we will win the path that will guide us towards a humane and fruitful future for all.  Cause shit .. i want to bloom and bear and share some delicious fruit before I pass on ...  

      •  right on barefoot (none)
        Lowest common denominator is always safe. But you're right, there is a hunger out there, even if people who are seemingly walking dead don't realize it, for meaning in their lives. Or at the very least, for getting information that isn't dumbed down. But it's possible to get that today, just not on a mass scale.  Trouble is, we're such a big country and such a big world and so fractionalized that the search for meaning and truth takes a lot more EFFORT of the seekers. Just like food. If you care about your body and the planet, you'll drive all over town for organic produce, read the labels, do the research, pay top dollar for it, when it would be so much easier to stop at one of the fifty McQuickCraps along the way.

        How does one make human enlightenment a commodity in a consumer society? Or is it even possible? Um. I don't know. Discuss.

        •  This ought to be a separate thread. (4.00)
          "But you're right, there is a hunger out there, even if people who are seemingly walking dead don't realize it, for meaning in their lives."

          I agree.  (Warning:  I'm about to indulge some pop-philosophizing here.)  I suspect that everyone at least semiconsciously strives for some definition of himself or herself.  I rather wonder, however, whether this struggle isn't just a luxury of the middle class.  Do those who must spend their every moment in the struggle for bare survival worry about this sort of thing?  I may have little money but I've never known real poverty; I live in acceptable comfort and can afford to muse about the meaning of life.

          I'd be a dishonest fool by the way to claim that, not having attained even my thirtieth years, I have this all sorted out for myself.  I think I'm better off than five years ago or even two years ago, and certainly better off than when I was seventeen and thought I knew everything I needed to know.  Some people never seem to get even that far, though.

          Few things sadden me more than seeing or hearing people who have defined themselves entirely by loyalty to a particular human institution--it could be a political party, a specific church, or even a sports team--or, worse, to a particular man or woman.  Of course I am a member of several particular organizations (isn't everyone?) but they are not who I am.  I am a Catholic, for example, but I wasn't always, I don't pretend to like the church's more foolish pronunciamentos, and my sense of myself wouldn't crash into ruins if the Catholic church should blink out of existence.  But for others the collective is everything.

          I think of the hardcore AM radio fans who seem to exist for no other reason than to call up (say) Rush Limbaugh and then, when they have his ear, do nothing but repeat back to him everything he says.  "Megadittos, Rush!"  What the heck is that, to fix your loyalty and sense of self so firmly to one man that in effect your personality has become subsumed by his?  How else to explain the violent and personal reaction of many right wingers to criticism either of their beliefs or the objects of their adulation?  When I see a decal or bumper sticker I don't like, I may flash briefly into anger or despondency, but I do not feel that I have personally been attacked.  Against this I set the story of an acquaintance of mine in Seattle (actually it was the more conservative Bellevue where this happened) who accidentally parked her car outside near to a gathering of local Republicans, one of whom--an elderly woman--rushed to the car and began clawing off the anti-Bush bumper stickers with her fingernails when she saw the cars.  How else to explain that kind of lunatic behavior except by postulation that the Republican woman considered herself and her sense of self-worth to be under attack?

          "How does one make human enlightenment a commodity in a consumer society?  Or is it even possible?  Um.  I don't know.  Discuss."

          I'm not sure it is possible.  For example, I don't think that the growing availability of organic produce, free-range poultry products, and other such foods is enetirely a good thing.  They have been shunted into a niche market, sold more on snob appeal than on healthfulness or from a genuine desire to replace and not merely complement conventional, mechanised agriculture.  The industry that grinds out hamburger patties for McDonald's continues unabated.

          It depresses me to contemplate this.  Sometimes I think wildly that the only ethical solution is to go the Tom and Barbara Good route (cf. "The Good Life" or "Good Neighbors" as it's also called) and attempt to grow vegetables and raise chickens in suburban Seattle.  But I lack the land (my partner and I rent), the courage, and the lower back strength.

          Did you ever wonder / why we had to run for shelter / when the promise of a brave new world / unfurled beneath the clear blue sky?

          by Ernest Tomlinson on Mon Mar 29, 2004 at 08:29:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maslow's hierarchy (none)
            agrees with you: people concerned with survival don't have the time or energy to worry about deeper meanings.  Which is just one of the many reasons why, if we want to have a more enlightened society, we have to take care of the poor.

            Of course, "enlightenment" as a commodity is everywhere in our society, with its plethora of self-help products for the anxious middle class.  There is, I think, a general sense, though perhaps subconsciously inchoate for many, that the deeper meanings we crave can't make themselves heard through all the static that surrounds us in our busyness, that we need to slow down and take a breath.  The movements promoting simplified lifestyles are another example of this.

            But at the same time, most of the messages around us are telling us to hurry up and consume some more or we'll miss some of the fun, hurry hurry, don't get left out, and don't listen too deeply to those signals trying to make it through the static, or the cognitive dissonance will be too painful.

            I think perhaps that sums up the dilemma of a lot of Americans today, maybe a lot of Western society: we'd like to invert our signal to noise ratio, but deep down we're afraid of what the consequences might be if we really do it.

            "The truth which makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear." -- Herbert Agar

            by Leslie in CA on Mon Mar 29, 2004 at 09:04:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Agreed--why can't we slow down (none)
              A lot of the problem is our advertising culture. I'm not talking about TV alone---but also, Fashion mags, Lifestyle mags, home decorating mags. Style mags. All of 'em are little more than advertising. This impossible ideal world is foisted on us, every single day through advertising large and smalle, to look a certain way, to smell a certain way, to be doing the right things, listening to the right things, and etc.

              It's impossible to keep up with the demands of Ad Nation. You can't keep up, because you're not meant to keep up. You must constantly be changing, at a rapid pace, so that you can buy more stuff that the corporations need to sell to you. That's how they make their money, by keeping you in a perpetual state of despair.

              All you can do is get off the damned merry-go-round, which is what I did, a long time ago. People are always amazed when they find out I don't watch TV. I always give a flip response, which isn't entirely untrue:  TV requires too much commitment.  I just can't imagine letting my life revolve around watching a certain show on a certain day at a certain time every single week. Good grief, if I wanted something controlling my life that much, I'd still be married to my previous husband!

          •  A Seperate Thread (none)
            Ernest,  I agree.  I feel exploring ideas surrounding 'meaning ' ... is the foundation stone upon which America might carve out inorder to begin building a 'civilized' civilization ... would warrant a whole website of it's own but a seperate thread is a good begining.  

            This is why need a television channel , like C-Span , that would be devoted to deveoping a mission statement for the people of the United States.  It sounds goofy when I write it but I believe in the possibility.  We would call upon the best of every field of endeavor inorder to sift through what we know and then to talk about what we want and how to do it.  Old politics isn't working.

            You bring up a good point regarding identification... or what we as persons identify with. All the name tags we pin on ourselves and worse .. each other.  Emotional name tags ... like "depressed" or "in love" or "pissed off".  Physical name tags ... like " young " or "old" or "handsome" or "worn out ".  Spiritual name tags ...like  "Catholic " .. "Mormon "  .. "Taoist" .. "Atheist".  Sexual name tags like " gay " or "straight".  Republican and Democrat.  These are dichotomies.  We need a third force ... a force of reconcilliation ... we need a force that embodies the " humility " of being human.  And I would hope such a bridge would be built remember the power of "Innocence".

            Naming or "tagging" is necessary for certain specific lines of discourse but ultimately not the final destination.  It seems to me the final destination is nearer to " who am I " ... "who am I with " and " where am I going" .. ?  These are the questions we need to ask ourselves as a nation.  And these are the questions a healthy news media would use to build a philosophy of news reporting.  Not news as inflamatory entertainment or news as sublimanl advertising for corporate/political agendas of a capitalist economy.

            You ask ... /How does one make human enlightenment a commodity in a consumer society?  Or is it even possible?  Um.  I don't know.  Discuss." /

            This is a seminal question ... How to motivate yourself/another to seek to nurture the experience of insight/wisdom, and to know that seeking is as important as the acquisiton of stuff and all the other mind created "securities" ... ?

            I have a feeling it might be conceived as the next "thing" .. as in good nutrition, good exercise .. etc.  I have a suspicion that the next important discoveries in science will lead us to the conclusion that inside each of us is an energy force more potent that atomic energy, and that his 'force' can be danced with,swam with and dialogued with so as to become ones own best friend.  I wouldn't want to use the "God" word so much because it has so much accumulative associative baggage.  This is the next adventure and we are the new "voyageurs".  We will be intrepid in our exporations.  Do you know the T.S.Elliot poem from the Four Quartets.

            " We shall not cease in our explorations.  And in the end of our exploring we shall come again to where we started ... and know the place for the first time".  or something like that ...  

            hmmmm.  perhaps I am straying off topic.  One other thought comes to mind about us wanting this all to become real now.  We want a real civilization based on sacred planetary/biologic ethics right now.  Unfortunately ... I think we are ahead of our times.  It may never become the great new thing to discover wisdom for oneself.  But that does not preclude the importance of finding it now for those who are ready to start the journey.  And companions on the journey is essential especially since the ecology of community is what we're looking for also.  And besides it's good to know someone you trust is holding the rope for you.  And now spring is here and I'll share an old Chinese poem for fun.

            " Sitting quietly doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself ".

               

          •  A Seperate Thread (none)
            Ernest,  I agree.  I feel exploring ideas surrounding 'meaning ' ... is the foundation stone upon which America might carve out inorder to begin building a 'civilized' civilization ... would warrant a whole website of it's own but a seperate thread is a good begining.  

            This is why need a television channel , like C-Span , that would be devoted to developing a mission statement for the people of the United States.    It sounds goofy when I write it but I believe in the possibility.  We would call upon the best of every field of endeavor inorder to sift through what we know and then to talk about what we want and how to do it.  Old politics isn't working.

            You bring up a good point regarding identification... or what we as persons identify with. All the name tags we pin on ourselves and worse .. each other.  Emotional name tags ... like "depressed" or "in love" or "pissed off".  Physical name tags ... like " young " or "old" or "handsome" or "worn out ".  Spiritual name tags ...like  "Catholic " .. "Mormon "  .. "Taoist" .. "Atheist".  Sexual name tags like " gay " or "straight".  Republican and Democrat.  These are dichotomies.  We need a third force ... a force of reconcilliation ... we need a force that embodies the " humility " of being human.  And I would hope such a bridge would be built remember the power of "Innocence".

            Naming or "tagging" is necessary for certain specific lines of discourse but ultimately not the final destination.  It seems to me the final destination is nearer to " who am I " ... "who am I with " and " where am I going" .. ?  These are the questions we need to ask ourselves as a nation.  And these are the questions a healthy news media would use to build a philosophy of news reporting.  Not news as inflamatory entertainment or news as sublimanl advertising for corporate/political agendas of a capitalist economy.

            You ask ... /How does one make human enlightenment a commodity in a consumer society?  Or is it even possible?  Um.  I don't know.  Discuss." /

            This is a seminal question ... How to motivate yourself/another to seek to nurture the experience of insight/wisdom, and to know that seeking is as important as the acquisiton of stuff and all the other mind created "securities" ... ?

            I have a feeling it might be conceived as the next "thing" .. as in good nutrition, good exercise .. etc.  I have a suspicion that the next important discoveries in science will lead us to the conclusion that inside each of us is an energy force more potent that atomic energy, and that his 'force' can be danced with,swam with and dialogued with so as to become ones own best friend.  I wouldn't want to use the "God" word so much because it has so much accumulative associative baggage.  This is the next adventure and we are the new "voyageurs".  We will be intrepid in our exporations.  Do you know the T.S.Elliot poem from the Four Quartets.

            " We shall not cease in our explorations.  And in the end of our exploring we shall come again to where we started ... and know the place for the first time".  or something like that ...  

            hmmmm.  perhaps I am straying off topic.  One other thought comes to mind about us wanting this all to become real now.  We want a real civilization based on sacred planetary/biologic ethics right now.  Unfortunately ... I think we are ahead of our times.  It may never become the great new thing to discover wisdom for oneself.  But that does not preclude the importance of finding it now for those who are ready to start the journey.  And companions on the journey is essential especially since the ecology of community is what we're looking for also.  And besides it's good to know someone you trust is holding the rope for you.  And now spring is here and I'll share an old Chinese poem for fun.

            " Sitting quietly doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself ".

               

      •  My mother (none)
        asked today why my generation doesn't seem as active as her generation (the vietnam generation) if we are so outraged by shrub's policies and the state of the nation.

        I explained to her the blogsphere and how there really is a large movement out there but most people don't see it because they get there news from the mainstream media.

        Even I stumbled upon Kos by accident because someone had a link to the Truth Laid Bare Ecosystem and I'm pretty left and use the web on a very frequent basis.

        So the blog phenom is good and its gaining ground, but a lot of people still don't realise it exists.

    •  Your sig (none)
      is of Animals by Floyd right? Sheep perhaps?

      Don't blame me....I voted for Kodos!

      by coheninjapan on Mon Mar 29, 2004 at 05:35:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Plus (none)
      the media is determined to depict this as a "he said, she said" or "he said, he said" instead of talking about the crux of the charges.

      In the past several years, the media has depicted all arguments with equal weight, even if they don't have the same merit.

      How else would Ann Coulter get so much attention?

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